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DELISTING TARGETS FOR FISH & WILDLIFE HABITAT & POPULATION

BENEFICIAL USE IMPAIRMENTS FOR THE ROUGE RIVER AREA OF CONCERN

Submitted to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

December 10, 2008

2200 Commonwealth Blvd, Suite 300


Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Ph: 734-769-3004
Fax: 734-769-3164
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We would like to acknowledge the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s
Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) for funding this important initiative. At
GLNPO, thanks are due to Mr. Tony Kizlauskas (Contract Manager), Ms. Vicki Thomas, and
Mr. Mark Elster (both Senior Advisors) for facilitating various administrative components of
this project. Mr. John Haugland also provided clear incite and guidance to the Technical
Committee on numerous topics. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)
played a key role in ensuring that the project deliverables were focused. At MDEQ, we
thank Ms. Michelle Selzer for her hands-on, constructive approach to this project. Many
other experts contributed their time, efforts, and talent toward the preparation of this report.
The Project Team acknowledges the contributions of each of the following members of the
Rouge River Delisting Criteria Technical Committee, and thanks them for their efforts:

Bob Belair, Canton Township

Matt Best, Wayne County Department of Environment

Michelle Bononi, Washtenaw County

Jeff Braunscheidel, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Gary Crawford, Superior Environmental and Aquatic Services

John Haugland, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region V

Kurt Heise, Wayne County Department of Environment

Nina Ignaczak, Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services

Erin Lavender, Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services

Dave Mifsud, Herpetological Resource & Management

Noel Mullett, Wayne county Department of Environment

Sally Petrella, Friends of the Rouge

Joe Rathbun, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Michelle Selzer, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Brandy Siedlaczek, City of Southfield

Rob Zbiciak, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Jim Zoumbaris, City of Livonia

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Project Team:

Bill Craig, Rouge Remedial Advisory Council (RRAC) Chair

Kelly Karll, P.E., Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (Project Manager)

Demetria Janus, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (Environmental Scientist)

Sarah Neville, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (Project Scientist)

Roy Schrameck, P.E., Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (Lead Technical
Resource)

Sanjiv Sinha, Ph.D., P.E., Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (Project
Director)

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GLOSSARY

The following is a glossary of acronyms and abbreviations for this report to assist the reader
in understanding this document:
ARC – Alliance of Rouge Communities
AOC – Area of Concern
BMP – Best Management Practice
BUI – Beneficial Use Impairment
CMI – Clean Michigan Initiative
CSO – Combined Sewer Overflow
DO – Dissolved Oxygen
GI – Green Infrastructure
IJC – Internal Join Commission
MDEQ – Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
MDNR – Michigan Department of Natural Resources
NPDES – National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
PAC – Public Advisory Council
RAP – Remedial Action Plan
RGC – Rouge Green Corridor
RPO – Rouge Program Office
RRAC – Rouge River Advisory Committee
SSO – Sanitary Sewer Overflow
SWAG – Subwatershed Advisory Group
SWMA – Storm Water Management Area
TMDL – Total Maximum Daily Load
TSS – Total Suspended Solids
USACE – United States Army Corp of Engineers
USEPA – United State Environmental Protection Agency
WMP – Watershed Management Plan
WQS – Water Quality Standards

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 Executive Summary ............................................................................................................ 7

2.0 Project Introduction and Rationale ................................................................................. 13

2.1 Project Rationale........................................................................................................ 13

2.2 Fish/Wildlife Habitat and Population


Beneficial Use Impairments in the Rouge River AOC ......................................... 16

3.0 Component A: Historical Habitat and Population Issues in the AOC ..................... 18

3.1 Fish and Wildlife Habitat ......................................................................................... 19

3.2 Fish Populations ........................................................................................................ 21

3.3 Flow Regime .............................................................................................................. 22

3.4 Dissolved Oxygen ..................................................................................................... 22

3.5 Temperature ............................................................................................................... 23

3.6 Bacteria ............................................................................................................... 23

3.7 Total Suspended Solids ............................................................................................ 23

3.8 Nutrients ............................................................................................................... 24

4.0 Component B: Habitat and Population


Impairments and Notable Areas by SWMA.................................................................. 25

4.1 Watershed-Wide........................................................................................................ 25

4.2 Main 1-2 Rouge SWMA ............................................................................................ 31

4.3 Main 3-4 Rouge SWMA ............................................................................................ 32

4.4 Upper Rouge SWMA ................................................................................................ 33

4.5 Middle 1 Rouge SWMA ............................................................................................ 34

4.6 Middle 3 Rouge SWMA ............................................................................................ 36

4.7 Lower 1 Rouge SWMA ............................................................................................. 37

4.8 Lower 2 Rouge SWMA ............................................................................................. 38

5.0 Component C: Delisting Criteria for Habitat and Populations ................................. 40

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

5.1 Small-sized Streams with Very Low Baseflows.................................................... 41

5.2 Small Streams with Low Baseflow .......................................................................... 41

5.3 Small Streams with Moderate Baseflows ............................................................... 41

5.4 Mid-sized Streams with Low Baseflows ................................................................ 41

5.5 Mid-sized River with Moderate Baseflow.............................................................. 41

5.6 Delisting Targets ........................................................................................................ 42

6.0 Component D: Recent and Ongoing Planning and Restoration Efforts................... 45

6.1 Main 1-2 SWMA......................................................................................................... 45

6.2 Main 3-4 SWMA......................................................................................................... 46

6.3 Upper SWMA............................................................................................................. 47

6.4 Middle 1 SWMA ........................................................................................................ 47

6.5 Middle 3 SWMA ........................................................................................................ 48

6.6 Lower 1 SWMA.......................................................................................................... 49

6.7 Lower 2 SWMA.......................................................................................................... 50

7.0 Component E: Sites for Habitat and Population BUI Delisting................................. 51

8.0 Component F: Reporting on Implementation of


Habitat and Population Delisting Projects..................................................................... 71

9.0 References........................................................................................................................... 72

LIST OF TABLES

2-1: Summary of Fish and Wildlife Habitat Related Beneficial Use Impairments
in the Rouge River Watershed...................................................................................... 9

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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

LIST OF FIGURES

1-1: Potential Monitoring Locations .................................................................................... 10

2-1: Rouge River Area of Concern ........................................................................................ 15

3-1: Rouge River Water Courses .......................................................................................... 18

4-1: Stream Habitat Quality Ranking ................................................................................... 26

4-2: Fish Quality Ranking ...................................................................................................... 27

4-3: Macroinvertebrate Quality Ranking ............................................................................. 28

4-4: Existing Woodlands ....................................................................................................... 29

4-5: Existing Wetlands ........................................................................................................... 30

5-1: Potential Monitoring Locations ..................................................................................... 44

7-1: Project Sites to Work towards Habitat and Population BUI Delisting..................... 52

7-2: Location of Henry Ford Estate and Wayne Road Dams ............................................ 54

7-3 Fordson Island Restoration ............................................................................................ 66

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1.0 Executive Summary

The Rouge River Area of Concern (AOC) delisting targets project was initiated to define
“how-clean-is-clean” for the Rouge River watershed and develop endpoints that would allow
for the ultimate delisting of the watershed as an AOC under the Great Lakes Water Quality
Agreement. This report presents the delisting targets for habitat and population-related
Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs). It also presents a project approach and recommended
projects for delisting targets needed to be developed relatively independent of the existing
RAP.

Current Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) guidance for developing


BUI delisting targets includes the need to develop local restoration
plans for Degraded Fish and Wildlife Populations and Loss of Fish Beneficial Use
and Wildlife Habitat (MDEQ, 2006). The local restoration plans also
need to consider the impact associated with degradation of benthos, Uses that are valued by
the third habitat and population related BUI in the Rouge River
society, such as water
AOC. The approach reflected in the ultimate delisting target
recommendations within this report identify the need to develop the quality that is suitable for
necessary site specific inventory, prioritization, and implementation drinking, swimming,
steps that are part of the local plan to work towards the BUI agricultural, and industrial
delisting. These draft plans have been finalized with the assistance
uses; healthy fish and
of the Technical Committee, the individual subwatershed advisory
groups (SWAG), and the Public Advisory Council (PAC). The site- wildlife populations which
specific demonstration projects included in the delisting targets support a broad range of
represent a cross section of the types of implementation projects that
subsistence, sport, and
will address habitat and population impairments within the AOCs.
Implementation of these projects will be a key step to accomplish commercial uses; and
delisting and a move toward full restoration thus benefiting the aesthetics.
watershed residents and users of the Rouge River as well as Lake
Erie and the Detroit River connecting channel.

The draft Supporting Guidance for Local Restoration Criteria Development: Loss of Fish and Wildlife
Habitat and Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Population published by MDEQ outlines the process
of developing delisting targets for habitat and population BUIs within Michigan’s AOCs. The
guidance outlines six components and steps that are required for developing a local, site-
specific restoration plan (MDEQ, 2006). Those six components each have a chapter in the
report and are summarized below:

Chapter 3 – Component A: Narrative on the historical habitat and population issues in the
AOC

The Rouge River and its tributaries are warm water fisheries, with the exception of Johnson
Creek, located in the headwaters of the Middle Branch, which is a designated cold water
fishery. Historically, the river was home to more than 60 species of fish, but the river and its
tributaries have experienced significant declines as a result of poor water quality, changes in
the flow regime, degraded in-stream and riparian habitat and habitat fragmentation by dams
and the concrete channel. Chapter 3 describes the historical fish and wildlife habitat and

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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern
population issues in the AOC. It further describes the important linkages between water
quality and the observed fish and wildlife impairments.

Chapter 4 – Component B: Description of the impairment(s) and location for each site

While significant strides have been achieved across the AOC,


including implementation of both combined and sanitary
Area of Concern
sewer overflow controls along with substantial efforts
directed towards mitigating storm water runoff impacts, Specific areas where degraded
challenges remain in further addressing water quality and
environmental conditions have
quantity impacts. Urban development across the AOC has
transformed much of the native vegetation into impervious created impairments to human
surfaces, such as roads, parking lots, rooftops and turf areas. or ecological use of the water
Significant non-point source storm water runoff contributes body.
to a river flow that is unstable, warm and polluted. The
unstable nature of the river and its tributaries is the common
characteristic reflective of the population and habitat impairments described at length in
Chapter 4.

Chapter 5 – Component C: Locally derived restoration target for each site

A guiding list of delisting targets was developed for use as the basis for future delisting of the
two BUIs described in this report. The targets are primarily focused on improving fish
populations in the Rouge River, including the Main, Upper, Middle and Lower branches.
These delisting targets are summarized below. It’s important to recognize that the identified
potential monitoring sites were selected based on the existence of historical fish community
assessment data. Past assessments were made using both the Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI)
(Karr, 1981) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Surface Water Quality
Division, Great Lakes Environmental Assessment Section, Procedure 51 (GLEAS 51)
methodologies. The IBI and GLEAS 51 methodologies measure the biotic integrity of a fish
population. This is defined as a “balanced, integrated, adaptive community of organisms having a
species composition, diversity, and functional organization comparable to that of natural habitat of the
region” (Karr & Dudley, 1981).

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations

1. Beneficial Use Impairment for Degradation of Benthos is removed.


2. Using the Wiley-Seelbach model (Wiley et.al., 1998) and the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources (MDNR) 1995 Fisheries Assessment (Leonardi, 1996) as the
baseline, it may be expected that a minimum number of game fish species may be
achieved in the following segments of the Rouge River (Figure 5-1 identifies Potential
Fish Monitoring Locations):
• Rouge River Main Branch from the mouth upstream to Beech Road (US5).
Example game species may include northern pike, smallmouth bass, channel
catfish and walleye. Potential monitoring locations include the following:
Site ID Geographic Location
US5 Beech Rd. (USGS, Southfield
MN-10** Below Ford Dam – Melvindale Boat
Launch
MN-4* Spinoza Rd in Rouge Park, Detroit
*Sites surveyed in 1986 using IBI & 1995 MDNR
** Site surveyed in 1995 MDNR

• Lower Rouge River from the confluence with the Main Branch upstream to
Sheldon Road (L-1). Example game species may include northern pike, rock bass
and smallmouth Bass. Potential monitoring locations include the following:
Site ID Geographic Location
LO6 Wayne Rd , Wayne
L-4* Ford Field Park , Dearborn
L-1* Sheldon Road, Canton
*Sites surveyed in 1986 using IBI & 1995 MDNR

• Middle Rouge River from the confluence with the Main Branch upstream to Hines
Drive (D06). Example game species may include northern pike, rock bass and
smallmouth bass. Potential monitoring locations include the following:
Site ID Geographic Location
US2 (MD-7*) Inkster Rd, Dearborn Heights (USGS Station)
DO6 Hines Dr. Near Ford Rd, Dearborn Heights
*Sites surveyed in 1986 using IBI & 1995 MDNR

• Upper Rouge River from the confluence with the Main Rouge River upstream to
Powers Road (U-1). Example game species may include northern pike, rock bass.
Potential fish monitoring locations include the following:
Site ID Geographic Location
U-3* 5 Mile Rd, Redford Twp
U-1* Powers St., Farmington
*Sites surveyed in 1986 using IBI & 1995 MDNR

3. Two monitoring events with results meeting the criteria above and which occur
within a five-year period, but no sooner than one-year apart, shall demonstrate
progress towards delisting.
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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern
Figure 1-1: Potential Monitoring Locations

Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat

1. Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations Beneficial Use Impairment is removed.


Chapter 5 presents a more detailed discussion about these guiding delisting targets.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Chapter 6 – Component D: List of all ongoing related habitat and population planning
processes in the AOC.
Ongoing planning and restoration efforts in the Rouge River AOC have been significant and
have reflected the complete dedication to this process by numerous stakeholders, including
local communities, counties, non-profit entities and hundreds of dedicated individual
volunteers. While many of these restoration projects and initiatives were made possible
through Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project funding, the
implementation success is also due to immeasurable local match resources, both in time and
monetary value. These restoration efforts, both completed and ongoing are summarized in
Chapter 6 by storm water management area, providing the basis with which future delisting
target projects were identified.

Chapter 7- Component E: Scope of work for each site, including components such as
Timetable, Funding, Potential Stakeholders, Indicators & Monitoring and Public
Involvement.
The Technical Committee identified a series of projects and initiatives that, once implemented
and monitored according to site plans, should result in delisting of the habitat and population
BUIs. These projects include a wide variety of topics, including large-scale concrete channel
modifications to smaller-scale green infrastructure implementation. All of these projects will
include a public involvement component that seeks to continue showing the important
connections between people and their environment. These projects are detailed in Chapter 7
and are listed as follows:

1) Fish Passage and Dam Modification – Feasibility Study and Implementation


2) Green Infrastructure (GI) – Assessment and Visioning
3) Green Infrastructure – Implementation
4) Green Infrastructure – Land Cover Monitoring
5) Natural Areas Program Management Feasibility Study
6) Green Corridors
7) Concrete Channel Modifications/Enhancements for Habitat and Fish
Populations
8) Michigan Avenue and Evergreen Road Storm Water Treatment and Habitat
Restoration
9) Tournament Players Golf Course Storm Water Treatment and Wetland
Restoration
10) Oakwood Common Oxbow Restoration
11) Fordson Island Habitat Restoration
12) Lakes and Impoundments – Feasibility Study & Restoration
13) Evans Creek Constructed Wetland
14) Booth Park Streambank Stabilization

Chapter 8 – Component F: Method for project reporting to MDEQ


Chapter 8 describes and outlines a mechanism for reporting on the progress of the
implementation process to MDEQ.

Due to the large size of the Rouge River AOC (entire Rouge River Watershed), the EPA and
MDEQ agreed that summarization of the habitat and population impairments and selection

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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern
of priority projects was appropriate for this effort. Items A through F are addressed in this
document.

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2.0 Project Introduction and Rationale

2.1 PROJECT RATIONALE

The original listing of AOCs within the Great Lakes was based on the presence of beneficial
use impairments (BUIs). These BUIs were defined by the International Joint Commission
(IJC) along with generalized criteria for determining when a beneficial use was impaired.
The first set of guidance for delisting targets was put forth in 1991 by the IJC. These criteria
were fairly general and led to a more specific set of guidance published by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2001 (Policy Committee, 2001).

In 2006, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) released the Guidance
for Delisting Michigan’s Great Lakes Areas of Concern (MDEQ, 2006). The MDEQ guidance
is very specific regarding targets for non-habitat related BUIs and in general can be applied
throughout Michigan with minimal variation. There are often significant variations within
an AOC with respect to the habitat and the ability of the restored habitat to support the
same degree of fish and wildlife populations. This observation is magnified if you try to
apply a single target throughout all of the Michigan AOCs. Therefore, MDEQ’s guidance
for fish and wildlife habitat and population-
related BUI removal is based on a criteria- Rouge River AOC
setting process and requires the development
and implementation of an AOC-specific Beneficial Use Impairments
restoration plan. The MDEQ will review and 9 Restrictions on fish and wildlife
approve the restoration plan and the final consumption
delisting targets determined by the Public 9 Eutrophication or undesirable algae
Advisory Council (PAC) in each AOC.
9 Degradation of fish and wildlife
The primary goal of developing delisting targets populations**
is to create a blueprint for the 9 Beach closings
delisting/restoration of the AOC. The delisting 9 Fish tumors or other deformities
target develops an endpoint for measuring
progress in the remediation of the river and 9 Degradation of aesthetics
recovery of the fish and wildlife BUIs that were 9 Degradation of benthos
considered to be impaired within the AOC and 9 Restriction on dredging activities
documented in the Rouge River Remedial
Action Plan (RAP). 9 Loss of fish and wildlife habitat** 
**Delisting criteria for BUIs in this report. 
Removing the fish and wildlife habitat and
population BUIs is a long-term demonstration of success in the recovery of the Rouge River
AOC (Figure 2-1). One benefit of the successful delisting of these BUIs will include the
presence of additional recreational opportunities throughout the AOC. These recreational
opportunities will be evident not only to the people involved in these restoration efforts, but
most notably to the residents of the area. Connecting residents to the river through
recreational opportunities provides further incentive for continuing long-term improvement
projects. As these fish and wildlife BUIs are removed, there will be numerous ancillary
benefits evident across the AOC. These additional benefits may include, but are not limited
to the following:

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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

9 Increased public use and enjoyment of the Rouge River associated with increased
active recreational uses such as fishing;

9 A potential increase in property values within the AOC following restoration;

9 Increased desirability of the AOC for investment and development following


elimination of the AOC designation;

9 Increased public use and enjoyment of


the Rouge River associated with
increased non-active recreational
uses such as wildlife viewing and
the general ability to “connect
with nature” as aesthetics
improve in the AOC; and

9 Providing SWMA specific targets


that can be used to evaluate the Henry Ford Oxbow
Walking Trails
restoration success outlined in the
RAP.

Ecosystem restoration and protection are important to the residents of the Rouge River
watershed. The Rouge River Advisory Council (RRAC) restoration vision for the AOC is a
watershed that is aesthetically pleasing, clean and safe, supports a healthy, diverse fish and wildlife
community, and provides an enriching variety of recreational experiences (RRAC, 2004). The
development of the fish and wildlife population and habitat-related delisting targets
associated with this project will provide the direction necessary to continue implementation
actions needed to realize RRAC’s vision and restore the environmental integrity of the
Rouge River AOC.

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Figure 2-1: Rouge River Area of Concern

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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

2.2 FISH & WILDLIFE HABITAT & POPULATION BENEFICIAL USE IMPAIRMENTS

Table 2-1 below outlines the habitat-related beneficial use impairments in the Rouge River
AOC (RRAC, 2004). The use impairment, probable and/or known causes of the
impairment, extent of the impairment and whether or not the impairment has an impact to
the Great Lakes is described in the table.

Table 2-1: Summary of Fish and Wildlife Habitat-Related Beneficial Use Impairments in
the Rouge River Watershed.

Impact
Degree And
Use Probable and/or Known Causes (RRAC, 2004) To
Geographic Extent
Impairment Great
Lakes
Degraded fish Streamflow, non-point source pollution, point Fish Populations: Yes
and wildlife source storm water discharges, Impaired throughout
populations combined/separate sewer overflows, the watershed; less
inappropriate management of woody debris and so in headwaters.
riparian corridors, contaminated sediments, Wildlife Populations:
illegal discharges, point source discharges; loss Impairment
of upland, riparian and aquatic habitat. unknown-additional
studies necessary
Loss of fish Physical alteration of habitats (channelization, Impaired throughout Yes
and wildlife enclosure or relocation of the streambed, the watershed; less
habitat excessive post-storm stream flows) and so in the headwaters.
elimination of stream bank vegetation and
woody debris in the stream channel; nonpoint
source pollution, point source pollution, and
combined/separate sewer overflows;
contaminated sediments, stream flow, and illegal
discharges; loss of all natural habitats (i.e. forests,
wetlands, floodplains) due to development.

When addressing habitat, it is important to understand the habitat components that are
necessary to actually sustain fish and wildlife populations. These components include food,
water, shelter and places to raise young. When any of these components are negatively
affected by outside influences, the habitat balance is altered which in turn alters the
population balance.

Table 2-1 describes probable and/or known causes of the habitat and population impairments.
Many of these causes have underlying pollutants and sources associated with them which
have impacted habitat components and ultimately populations. The pollutants and their
respective sources are further described in this restoration plan with a focus on the impact
they have on water quality which further contributes to the fish and wildlife
population/habitat use impairments.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

The remaining sections of this plan are divided into specific components that outline local
criteria for aquatic habitat and population BUI delisting.

Component A (Chapter 3) describes the historical fish and wildlife habitat and population
issues in the AOC. This section further describes the important linkages between water
quality and these observed fish and wildlife impairments.

Component B (Chapter 4) provides more detailed information regarding the actual fish and
wildlife habitat and population impairments across the AOC, including the connections to
the original issues identified in the Rouge River Remedial Action Plan.

Component C (Chapter 5) leads into the discussion of the actual delisting targets with
supporting background information.

Component D (Chapter 6) provides an outline of ongoing planning processes and


implementation projects across the AOC that have demonstrated improvements to these
habitat and population impairments.

Component E (Chapter 7) provides a list of demonstration projects, each with a defined


scope of work, which will result in delisting these two BUIs.

Component F (Chapter 8) outlines a mechanism for reporting to the MDEQ on progress


made of the implementation process.

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3.0 Component A: Historical Habitat and Population Issues in the AOC

The Rouge River Watershed occupies 466 square miles in southeast Michigan with four
main branches totaling approximately 125 miles of waterways. The Rouge River flows
through Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties draining over 400 lakes and 50 miles of
riparian parkland. More than one million people live throughout the watershed across 48
local communities and three counties. More than 50 percent of the land use is residential,
commercial, and industrial with increased development having occurred in the headwaters
over the last 10 years.

Figure 3-1: Rouge River Water Courses

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Industrial growth in the lower Rouge River during the first half of the twentieth century,
combined with rapid residential and commercial growth during the latter half of the
century, has created significant pollution control problems in the Rouge River Watershed.
Historic challenges within the watershed have included combined sewer overflows (CSOs),
sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), urban storm water discharges, non-point source pollution,
municipal and industrial discharges, and point source pollution (Great Lakes Areas of
Concern: Rouge River EPA Website, January 2008). As early as the 1940s, when the Detroit
wastewater treatment facility was built, pollution control efforts were implemented in the
Rouge River Watershed. Despite these efforts, pollution continued to increase in the river.

More recent urbanization of land surrounding headwater tributaries have increased point
and non-point storm water inputs continuing to impair water quality and hydrology. As
these changes in land use across the watershed occurred, significant impacts to water
quality and the historical flow regime were observed, thus causing detrimental impacts to
both the existing habitats and populations. High flows were generated from the increase in
impervious surfaces (e.g. buildings, roads, parking lots, compacted turf areas). Increases in
impervious cover with corresponding reductions in green infrastructure, including
wetlands, woodlands and riparian corridor vegetation, have significantly altered the river’s
aquatic life. These changes have also had a notable affect on in-stream habitat through an
increase in both the quality and quantity of storm water runoff.

Based on the aforementioned conditions, fish and


wildlife habitat is considered impaired in all four
main branches of the Rouge River and its tributaries.
As land areas are altered through development of
impervious surfaces, remaining suitable habitat is
reduced in area, disconnected from wildlife
corridors, and degraded by human pressures.
Diverse habitat such as upland forests, wetland areas
and stream channel habitats, including plants,
woody debris and hard substrates, that was
historically present across the watershed supported
diverse fish and wildlife populations. As these
diverse habitats have been eliminated or impacted
by land use changes, water quality impacts and
changes in the flow regime, corresponding changes
in the food sources for the fish like the benthos
population have been evident. As the food source for the fish has been is altered, the
quantity and diversity of the fish populations have been altered. These conditions and
factors that influence population and wildlife habitat are further described in the following
sections.

3.1 FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT

Historically, the Rouge River, including the stream and river networks and associated
floodplain and upland areas, contained an abundant diversity of fish and wildlife habitat.
Various habitat types have included upland forests, emergent, scrub-shrub and forested

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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

wetlands and prairie meadows throughout the watershed. It is estimated that


approximately 80 percent of the watershed was forested during pre-European settlement
times. The watershed had expansive fields, forests and wetlands capable of absorbing
rainfall and snowmelt. Storm water runoff was effectively detained in wetlands and
floodplain areas while groundwater provided recharge to the Rouge River and its
tributaries. (RRAC, 2004).

Fish and wildlife habitat includes floodplains and uplands, woodlands and wetland areas.
It also includes the actual vegetation/habitat conditions along streambanks, including tree
canopy and in-stream habitat conditions. Stream corridors are significantly altered by
increases in impervious cover. As the vegetation is removed, the quality of any remaining
vegetation is often degraded by invasive plants, such as buckthorn, purple loosestrife and
garlic mustard.

In-Stream Habitat and Riparian Corridor

Characteristics of quality stream habitat include diversity (pools, riffles, and woody debris),
suitable substrate types, available cover, flow stability, depth variability, low sedimentation,
stable stream banks and stable water temperatures. A vegetated riparian corridor, or all the
land adjacent to the river and creeks, can provide shading and cooling for water; organic
debris to feed aquatic organisms; bank stabilization with its root structure; cover, perching
and nesting areas for aquatic organisms; and a buffer for pollutants and sediments from
surface runoff. In addition to providing habitat for aquatic organisms, the corridor is used
by many birds and mammals. In many urbanized areas, riparian corridors have been
converted to lawn, but significant strides have occurred to enhance these corridors and
educate the public about their important role in the environment.

Wetlands

Since pre-settlement, many acres of wetlands have been lost across the watershed.
According to state laws, only wetlands over five acres in size or that are contiguous to or
within 500 feet of a waterbody, are protected by the State of Michigan. Smaller wetlands
and those further away or not connected to water bodies, are not given state protection.
There are a number of types of wetlands including emergent, scrub-shrub and forested.
Wetlands provide a number of beneficial functions including floral and wildlife habitat; fish
and herptile habitat; flood water storage; non-point source pollution abatement; shoreline
and streambank protection; aesthetic and recreational opportunities; and groundwater
recharge potential. General wetland protection guidelines include maintaining connection
between the waterways, not mowing or disturbing native vegetation around wetlands,
removing invasive species and creating buffer zones around wetlands.

Woodlands

Woodlands, forests and heavily treed areas provide many benefits to water quality, water
quantity and wildlife habitat. Wooded areas provide nesting, perching, feeding and cover
for birds and mammals. Wildlife commonly found in the area include grey fox, deer, song
birds, wood ducks, weasels, skunks, flying squirrels, chipmunks, opossum, and others.
Wooded areas also provide water quality and quantity benefits by cooling and shading
storm water, intercepting storm water as it falls with leaf and trunk surface area and leaf

20
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

litter, and increasing infiltration of storm water with root systems and often more permeable
soils.

3.2 FISH POPULATIONS

The Rouge River and its tributaries are warm water fisheries, with the exception of Johnson
Creek, which is located in the headwaters of the Middle Branch and is a designated cold-
water fishery. Game fish, such as the largemouth bass, northern pike, suckers and catfish
have been evident in limited numbers, but have experienced significant declines as a result
of poor water quality, changes in the flow regime, degraded in-stream and riparian habitats
and habitat fragmentation by dams and the concrete channel. Historically, the Rouge River
was home to more than 60 species of fish. The more recent fish survey (Leonardi, 1996)
found 53 species with game fish primarily located to the Middle Branch impoundments and
areas below the Henry Ford Estate dam in the Main Branch. The Henry Ford Estate dam
and the channelization of the lower portions of the Main Branch have contributed to
blocking fish migrations upstream, including expected game fish such as smallmouth bass,
walleye and sturgeon. Johnson Creek, Seeley Creek, and Minnow Pond Drain, all
headwater tributaries are home to a Michigan threatened species, the redside dace.
Headwaters are also home to other sensitive fish species including northern hog sucker,
mottled sculpin, rock bass, and brook lamprey.

As previously mentioned, poor water quality combined with high flow variability have
negatively impacted the fish communities in the watershed. This includes low dissolved
oxygen concentrations, high nutrient levels, high turbidity or suspended solids in the water
column and changes in the flow regime. Water velocities and volumes after rainstorms and
excessive sedimentation from streambank and upland soil erosion destroys instream
habitat. Habitat fragmentation by the 62 dams across the watershed also limits fish
movements and spawning migrations. These structural impacts combined with higher
pollutant loadings and lower dissolved oxygen have altered the existence of diverse habitat
and aquatic communities.

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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

3.3 FLOW REGIME

The river flow regime is also described by how much and at what rate water travels in the
river channels. In a natural river system, storm water is intercepted by vegetation, stored
temporarily on the land in wetlands or infiltrates into groundwater, and then is slowly
released into the surface water system, with only a small fraction of water entering the river
via surface runoff. This hydrologic scenario describes a stable flow regime of which
characteristics include riffles and cool water temperatures leading to increased dissolved
oxygen concentrations. However, the streams and the river itself are commonly referred to
as “flashy” as they experience rapid increases in both the amount and rate of water in the
system during both small and large storm events. A flashy river system provides unstable
habitat – low base flows and high peak flow rates – for fish and aquatic organisms. The
channels become degraded with high sediment loads and scoured streambanks. In the
Rouge River Watershed, the natural clay geology and the development of impervious
surfaces across the landscape has significantly reduced the groundwater recharge
contributions to the streams and river. Thus negative impacts caused by poor storm water
management and removal of riparian buffer zones have been magnified.

This results in a myriad of negative impacts on the biota and habitat. High flows carry
away small woody and other debris
from the stream channel, eliminating
flow refugia and hard substrates upon
which many macroinvertebrates
forage and endemic fish species lay
eggs. Excessive sedimentation covers
and embeds critical habitat leaving a
relatively flat channel configuration.
Elimination of terrestrial components
necessary for moderating the intensity
of storm water inputs has also
resulted in a decrease in ground water Eroding Banks due to high sheer stress.
flow and loss of riparian canopy that
may result in increased in-stream USGS Gage Station -- Birmingham, Michigan
temperatures and lower retention of
dissolved oxygen.

3.4 DISSOLVED OXYGEN (DO)

A certain concentration of DO is essential for the survival of fish and other aquatic
organisms. DO is an important component in the respiration of aerobic plants and animals,
photosynthesis, oxidation-reduction processes, solubility of minerals, and decomposition of
organic matter. The decomposition of organic matter and plant respiration extract dissolved
oxygen from the water causing DO levels to decline. At lower water temperatures, larger
amounts of DO are retained in the water. High levels of bacteria from sewage pollution
and high levels of organic matter in the water can lead to low DO levels. The amount of
oxygen an organism requires varies according to species and stage of life. DO levels below

22
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

1 or 2 mg/L (milligrams/liter) will not support fish populations.


DO levels below 3 mg/L are stressful to most aquatic organisms.
DO levels of 5 to 6 mg/L are usually required for growth and
activity. Low DO levels encourage the growth of anaerobic
organisms and nuisance algae causing poor odors and low food
supply for aquatic organisms. State water quality standards
specify that a minimum of 5 mg/L of DO shall be maintained
for a warm water fishery which includes the Rouge River and its
tributaries with the exception of Johnson Creek. As a designated
cold water fishery, Johnson Creek should have DO levels above
7 mg/L.

3.5 TEMPERATURE

Water temperature directly affects many physical, biological, Johnson Creek


and chemical characteristics of a river. It affects the amount of
oxygen that can be dissolved in the water, the rate of photosynthesis by algae and larger
aquatic plants, the metabolic rates of aquatic organisms and the sensitivity of organisms to
toxic wastes, parasites and diseases. Increased water temperature in the streams can be
caused by heated discharges from industrial operations, runoff from impervious surfaces
and removal of vegetation and tree cover along the riparian corridor. Typically, warm
water fish such as bass, crappie, bluegill, carp and catfish live in temperatures above 20°C;
aquatic insects and some cold water fish survive in temperatures between 13 - 20°C; and
many sensitive species such as mayfly nymphs, caddisfly larvae, water beetles and water
striders along with cold water trout live in temperatures below 13°C.

3.6 BACTERIA

High E. coli bacteria counts, a part of fecal coliform bacteria, suggest the presence of
microorganisms that threaten public health from untreated human and/or animal waste.
High bacteria levels lead to low DO concentrations thus directly affecting the presence and
types of aquatic life in the river system. Historically, the sources of high bacteria levels were
CSOs and SSOs. As the CSOs and SSOs have been corrected, improvements in the presence
and types of aquatic life have been observed.

3.7 TOTAL SUSPENDED SOLIDS

Total suspended solids (TSS) are a reflection of the amount of sediment in the water column.
Sources of TSS include streets and other paved surfaces, streambank erosion, construction
sites and agricultural areas. High TSS in the water column decreases light penetration for
aquatic plants, clogs gills of aquatic organisms and fish, reduces growth rates and disease
resistance, decreases photosynthesis and reduces DO levels, and prevents egg and larval
development. It also destroys habitat of aquatic life by covering and filling in critical habitat
areas in the river and stream channels. Settled particles accumulating on the stream bottom
can smother fish eggs and aquatic insects, suffocate newly-hatched insect larvae and make
river bottom micro-habitats unsuitable for mayfly nymphs, stoneyfly nymphs, caddisfly
larvae and other benthic macroinvertebrates.

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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

3.8 NUTRIENTS

Phosphorus is an essential
nutrient required for plant
growth and occurs in
natural waters in the form of
phosphates. Nitrogen is an
essential nutrient required
by all plants and animals for
building protein. Algae and
larger aquatic vascular
plants rapidly utilize specific
forms of phosphorus and
nitrogen. Excess phosphorus
and nitrogen in the water
causes accelerated algal
growth, which can decrease Newburgh Lake
oxygen levels and limit food
sources for aquatic life.
Excess phosphorus and nitrogen enter water bodies from human and animal wastes,
industrial pollution and fertilizers.

As the remainder of this document focuses on priorities, targets and restoration, the criteria
emphasizes working towards delisting the Loss of Fish Populations impairment for two
primary reasons. First of all, as the fish populations are restored, the macroinvertebrate
population and the habitat must exist to support the fish communities. Furthermore, fish
populations, not wildlife populations, were directly cited as the original reason behind the
Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations use impairment. Because the 1989 RAP did
not specifically address the degradation of wildlife populations, this restoration plan will
not focus on achieving specific wildlife targets.

24
4.0 Component B: Habitat & Population Impairments & Notable Areas

4.1 WATERSHED-WIDE

Much of the land area within the Rouge River AOC has been transformed into impervious
surface resulting in a loss of native, deep-rooted vegetation resulting in significant non-
point source storm water runoff challenges (RRAC, 2004). This additional storm water
runoff is responsible for a river flow that is unstable, warm, and polluted. The Rouge River
also experiences a flashy flow regime, with annual flow peaks 20 to 90 times the base flows
(Szlaga & Ridgway, 2008). Summer base flow averages 10 cubic feet per second (cfs) with
fluctuations of over 500 cfs after rain events. This flashiness destabilizes banks, creates large
moving sediment bedloads, dislodges and destroys riparian habitat, strands and kills
organisms, and interferes with recreational uses of the river (RRAC, 2004). As a result
habitat, fish, animal, and insect diversity and abundance have experienced significant
declines. Furthermore, the lack of floodwater storage results in increased erosion and
sediment loading causing an increase in flow volume and velocity, turbidity, and decreased
DO levels, which further degrade in-stream habitat.

Quality stream habitat is an important contributing factor to a fish community.


Characteristics of a quality stream habitat include: diversity (pools, riffles, and woody
debris), available substrate, adequate cover, flow stability, depth variability, low
sedimentation, and stable stream banks. An evaluation of stream habitats was undertaken
as part of the MDNR’s fish assessment (Leonardi, 1996) and again during the MDEQ’s
biological assessments in 2000 and 2005 (Catalfio et.al, 2006). Figure 4-1 shows the stream
habitat scores associated with these surveys (Catalfio et.al, 2006).

Much of the river’s flow is composed of warmer, less reliable storm water runoff. Stream
flow is extremely important as frequent and higher flood flows undercut banks and flush
potential organic and inorganic fish cover downstream or onto floodplains. At some sites
organic debris can be observed 10-feet above normal water levels making it unavailable as
cover or food to invertebrates and fish during normal flow. Stream cross-sections are
frequently bowl shaped and devoid of cover (Leonardi, 1996). As a result, the number of
species and the biomass of macroinvertebrates are reduced due to the lack of large solid
substrate and low water velocities associated with low flows. It has been well documented
that many fish species, including smallmouth bass, have a strong affinity for in-stream cover
that provides a resting place out of the current, cover from predators and light, and a good
source for the macroinvertebrates that colonize these structures (Leonardi, 1996). Figure 4-2
presents results of the fish community assessments while Figure 4-3 shows
macroinvertebrate survey results across the watershed (Catalfio et.al, 2006).

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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Figure 4-1: Stream Habitat Quality Ranking

26
Figure 4-2: Fish Quality Ranking

27
Figure 4-3: Macroinvertebrate Quality Ranking

Other critical habitat components include both wetlands and woodlands, the percentage of
which has been significantly altered and decreased due to changes in impervious cover
across the AOC. Both wetlands and woodlands provide a variety of critical habitat
functions that are directly connected to the aquatic life populations evident in the river and
its tributaries. Figures 4-4 and 4-5 show the presence of existing woodlands and wetlands,
respectively, across the AOC.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Figure 4-4: Existing Woodlands

Many tracts of woodland areas have been removed as development has progressed across
the landscape. As is evident in Figure 4-4, there are large tracts of woodland areas still
remaining in headwater areas and along segments of the river corridor.

29
Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Figure 4-5: Existing Wetlands

Similar to the woodland areas in the AOC, the wetland areas across the AOC have also
experienced a significant decline, both in quantity and quality. In many areas where
wetland areas are mitigated for development impacts, previous functions and values are not
completely restored.

The watershed has been divided into seven storm water management areas (SWMA), based
on the four main branches of the river, so that the Rouge River communities could
collectively, and effectively, comply with requirements under the National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit. Watershed management plans have been

30
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

developed for each SWMA. Each SWMA management plan identifies actions needed to
address remaining problems associated with water quality related impaired uses, including
fish and wildlife designated uses. Where applicable, activities identified in each SWMA,
that are either ongoing or planned to specifically address fish and wildlife habitat, are
described in the Recent and Ongoing Planning Efforts section below. For more information
on other subwatershed management and water quality monitoring activities, go to:
www.allianceofrougecommunities.com.

The following SWMA summaries describe the most significant habitat impairment factors
that have been identified to date, including their location within the SWMA, where the
impairment is occurring. These main habitat impairments are having a direct impact on the
fish community, which is the focus of this restoration plan.

4.2 MAIN 1-2 ROUGE STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

Impairments

The main factors negatively impacting fish community and habitat integrity in the Main 1-2
SWMA are excessive flow variability with low base flow and the lack of appropriate
spawning habitat. Removal of riparian vegetation is increasing the rate at which poor
quality storm water reaches streams while also exacerbating bank erosion and temperature
increases in the water. Excessive sedimentation within impoundments is the result of poor
soil erosion management on lands adjacent to the river. Although the impoundments create
opportunities for development of recreational fish communities they are also a source of
habitat fragmentation preventing upstream and downstream movements of fish species.

Notable Areas

In general, habitat quality was slightly better along the Main 1-2 reach of the Rouge River
than in its tributaries. In 1995, the highest quality fish communities were found in Franklin
Branch, Cranbrook Creek, and on the main stem at Beech Road in Troy (Leonardi, 1996).
Franklin Branch may be capable of supporting brown trout, if extreme flow variations are
controlled. Other sensitive fish populations that have been observed along this corridor
include the rock bass, Johnny darter and stonecat. It is also home to the largest and most
diverse population of freshwater mussels within the entire Rouge River watershed. Several
of the species found include the fluted shell, white heelsplitter, and squawfoot-mussel
(OCPDES, 2006).

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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

In 2005, good quality


aquatic habitat was found
in the Franklin Branch,
Pebble Creek and the Main
Branch of the Rouge. A
considerable amount of the
streams within the Main 1-
2 SWMA are flanked by
intact riparian buffer zones
that protect the aquatic
habitat. These “green
corridors” are found along
the Quarton Branch,
Franklin Branch, Main
Branch and a portion of the
Ravines Branch in
Farmington and the City of Franklin Branch, Farmington Hills, MI
Southfield adjacent to
Carpenter Lake. Expanding and protecting these green corridors will be necessary to
further enhance habitat quality and improve fish populations in the Main 1-2 SWMA.

4.3 MAIN 3-4 ROUGE STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

Impairments

The Main 3-4 SWMA should support a fairly


diverse aquatic community; however, the
habitat in this reach suffers from excessive
flow variation, which is manifested in
unstable banks and the lack of streamside
cover, riffles and pools. In addition, the
conditions in the area of the Main Branch,
between its confluence with the Upper and its
confluence with the Middle branches have
changed very little during dry weather events
because much of the Main 3-4 is still
influenced by uncontrolled CSOs (Catalfio
et.al, 2006). Presence of sewage (i.e. bacteria)
in the river negatively affects levels of DO
and nutrients in the river system which, in
turn, has an impact on fish, benthic and Main Branch – Concrete Channel
wildlife populations in the AOC.

Separation of river segments, or habitat fragmentation, has been affected by the Henry Ford
Estate dam in Dearborn along with the concrete channel in the lowest reaches of the river.
The four mile concrete channel from Michigan Avenue to the Turning Basin acts as a barrier
to the movement of fish and other aquatic life to the upstream reaches of the river. In
addition, the Henry Ford Estate dam prevents fish passage migrating from Lake Erie and

32
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

the Detroit River upstream to other river branches. The impoundment at the Henry Ford
Estate combined with the poor physical and water quality condition in the lower river
district's channel, are serious impediments to the normal functioning of the Rouge River
system (Wiley, et.al., 1998).

The upper reaches of this stream run through urban and suburban areas that have
contributed greatly to the alteration of the natural flow regime. Increases in flashiness from
increased impervious surfaces have contributed to stream bank erosion and sedimentation,
which has resulted in significant impacts on the aquatic communities.

Notable Areas

The Main 3-4 SWMA is heavily developed, however it still


retains a moderately intact riparian corridor in the northern
reaches due, in part, to the connection of the floodplain
riparian corridor with the river. This floodplain function
also provides opportunities for future habitat enhancements
on adjacent parklands and given its accessibility to the
Detroit River and ultimately Lake Erie, its potential to sustain Steelhead in the
a thriving community of game fish is a high priority. At Rouge River!
present, there are fish species, such as the steelhead and Chinook
salmon, found in this SWMA, specifically at Henry Ford at Greenfield
Roads that are found nowhere else in the watershed (Wiley, et.al., 1998).

4.4 UPPER ROUGE STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

Impairments

Low DO levels, siltation in the spawning and feeding areas of the stream channels and
degradation of physical habitat from bank erosion and streambed scouring linked to the
high flow variability in the streams are the most significant factors limiting the abundance
of fish species in the Upper Rouge SWMA. Biotic integrity quickly diminishes from the
headwaters to the main branch of the Upper Rouge River. Tarabusi Creek (at Orchard Lake
Road) and the Bell Branch (between Beech-Daly and Telegraph roads) exhibit unstable,
eroded stream banks due to extreme flow patterns. Physical impacts to these tributaries and
the river, including removal of riparian vegetation, channelization, relocation and enclosure
have resulted in negative cumulative impacts on fish communities as well. The
downstream portions of the SWMA have historically experienced
significantly degraded water quality due to CSOs. Water
quality and thus the diversity of habitat and aquatic Redside Dace
communities will continue to improve as the
effectiveness of the CSO controls is demonstrated.

Notable Areas

One of the more notable characteristics of the Upper


Rouge SWMA is its river gradient, or the change in
elevation of the River from the upstream headwater areas to its
33
Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

confluence with the Main Rouge River. The average river gradient in the Rouge River
Watershed is approximately five feet per mile while the gradient in the Upper Rouge River
SWMA averages 21 feet per mile, the highest of the four main river branches. The Bell
Branch, within this SWMA, is known for its high gradient characteristic, which could
potentially support a wide range of fish and aquatic organism communities due to the
regular riffle-pool sequences; however, it also experiences significant flow variability that
inhibits establishment of a diverse aquatic community (Catalfio et.al, 2006).

The Upper Rouge River at both Powers and Drake Roads, along with the Seeley Drain and
Minnow Pond Drain, were rated “Good” in both the 1995, 2000 and 2005 assessments using
GLEAS 51 protocols (Catalfio et.al, 2006). The Minnow Pond and Seeley Drains contain
aquatic habitat that supports both sensitive fish and aquatic macroinvertebrate species. Of
the four locations sampled, Minnow Pond Drain (near Farmington Road) and Seeley Drain
(at Halsted Road) contained sensitive fish species (e.g., redside dace and mottled sculpin)
and the most diverse aquatic habitat. Adult rainbow trout have been stocked near Powers
Road to support short-term fishing derbies;
however, there is no evidence of the Mottled Sculpin
establishment of a permanent population.
Protection efforts, such as maintaining/
restoring riparian vegetation, minimizing flow
variability, and maintaining good water quality,
have been completed to ensure that this reach of
the Rouge River continues to support sensitive
species is essential.

4.5 MIDDLE 1 ROUGE STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

Impairments

The Middle 1 SWMA has experienced fish and wildlife habitat and population impairments
similar to other SWMAs. It exhibits a diverse underlying geology, including sand and
sandy loam soils that should support a viable population of aquatic habitat suitable for cool
and coldwater aquatic organisms. However, both point and non-point storm water inputs
continue to impair water quality and the natural flow regime. Researchers have noted both
physical and chemical impairments to aquatic habitat such as sedimentation, erosion, lack of
cover, E.coli, DO, etc. (Leonardi, 1996). Hydrologic irregularity caused by channelization,
agricultural, and urban land use impacts continue to impair spawning and refuge habitats.
These habitat impairments are mostly due to conversion of forest and open space to
agricultural and urban land uses. Higher than average peak flows and lower than desirable
summer flows are also thought to be the major cause of the lack of diversity (Wiley, et.al.,
1998).

Due to frequent violations of the 7mg/L Michigan Water Quality Standard (WQS), Johnson
Creek was placed on the 2006 303(d) impaired water body list, which is included in the
Clean Water Act Water Quality and Pollution Control in Michigan: Section 303(d) and
305(b) Integrated Report, submitted by the MDEQ to U.S. EPA every two years. The Total
Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) developed by the MDEQ for the impaired portion of the
water body prescribes loads to meet the DO standard in a two mile long reach that extends

34
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

from the confluence with the Walled Lake Branch of the Rouge River upstream to Six Mile
Road. Factors which have been identified as contributors to the depleted oxygen in Johnson
Creek include carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand, nitrogenous oxygen demand,
sediment oxygen demand, and plant respiration (MDEQ, 2007).

Notable Areas

Johnson Creek is a headwater stream that supports a high quality fish and biotic
community. The stream reaches between Six Mile Road and Beck Road with a section 1,000
feet upstream of Pickford Avenue to Edenberry Road exhibit high quality aquatic habitat
and flow characteristics worthy of preservation (Crawford & Denison, 1997). Johnson Creek
is a designated cold water stream that supports a viable population of cold and cool water
species including brown trout, dace,
darters and mottled sculpin.

Bishop Creek was found to have


“marginal” habitat per GLEAS 51
ratings in 2005 (Catalfio et.al, 2006).
The watershed of Bishop Creek has
experienced rapid development, and
the intensity of storm water runoff can
overcome rehabilitative efforts and
further degrade this stream. Walled
Lake is the largest waterbody in the
watershed and contains a healthy
population of warm water fish species.
In addition, there are numerous Phoenix Lake
impoundments within the Middle 1
SWMA but public access is limited or
restricted. Phoenix Lake and Wilcox Lake provide the best opportunities for recreational
fishing for warm water fish species and other recreational opportunities associated with the
river. Providing additional public access along the Rouge River and surrounding inland
lakes within the watershed will help to ensure that everyone can enjoy natural resources the
watershed provides.

The intact riparian corridors within the Middle 1 SWMA provide habitat opportunities and
stabilized streambanks, and wetlands in this SWMA are also critical to maintaining high
quality habitat diversity and aquatic communities.

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Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

4.6 MIDDLE 3 ROUGE STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

Impairments

The Middle 3 SWMA of the Rouge River should


support a fairly diverse aquatic community.
The primary cause of degraded stream habitat
in the Middle 3 is the excessive flow instability
and accompanying erosion and sedimentation
and a lack of habitat complexity. Specifically,
excessive and variable stream flows, lack of
appropriate spawning habitat, lack of
streamside vegetation and cover and few pools
and riffles are negatively impacting fish
community integrity in the Middle 3 (Leonardi,
1996). The size and diversity of the fish
community in this SWMA is also constrained by
the dams at Newburgh Lake, Nankin Lake and
the Henry Ford Estate, which prevent fish
passage to upstream areas. Additional
impairments include sedimentation, erosion,
excessive total suspended solids, E.coli, low
dissolved oxygen (Leonardi, 1996), and algal
blooms in the impoundments. These habitat
limitations arise from point and nonpoint Tonquish Creek Streambank
sources.

Severe streambank erosion exists along Tonquish Creek, an upstream tributary of the
Middle Rouge River. The erosion areas are due to the increase in impervious surfaces
combined with little storm water management; thus, flow variability is a significant issue.
As a result, the habitat and aquatic communities have been degraded.

Notable Areas

The restoration of Newburgh Lake has produced an active


recreational area for use by the public for fishing, boating
and passive recreation. In addition, the grow zones and rain
gardens that have been constructed along the Middle Rouge
River have further enhanced habitat diversity and created
opportunities for enhancing aquatic communities.
Continuing to protect and enhance the riparian corridors
along with further reducing the rate and volume of storm
water runoff will improve both habitat and aquatic
community populations.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

4.7 LOWER 1 ROUGE STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

Impairments

The Lower 1 SWMA of the Rouge


River exhibits an underlying geology
that predisposes the streams to
extremes in both flow and
temperature, and prohibits high rates
of groundwater contribution to
streams. Point and non-point storm
water inputs continue to impair
water quality and hydrology.
Elimination of terrestrial components
necessary for moderating the
intensity of storm water inputs has
also resulted in a decrease in
groundwater flow and loss of Fellows Creek
riparian vegetation, which results in
increased in-stream temperatures and lower retention of DO. Negative impacts caused by
poor storm water management and removal of riparian vegetation also magnify habitat and
population impacts.

The excessive flow variation and lack of appropriate spawning habitat have been the main
factors negatively impacting the Lower 1 fish community. In addition, increases in
impervious surfaces have impacted the tributaries to the Lower Rouge River along with the
headwaters of the Lower Rouge upstream of Beck Road. Fellows Creek also has severe
streambank erosion in areas downstream of Canton Center Road.

Notable Areas

The Lower Rouge River between Beck YCUA Outfall at Beck Road
Road and Sheldon Road, and Fowler
Creek at Harris Road exhibit high quality
aquatic habitat (Catalfio et.al, 2006). In
addition, the increased base flow at Beck
Road from the Ypsilanti Community
Utility Authority (YCUA) outfall has
transformed the Lower Rouge from
being a very low base flow system to a
midsized river with moderate base flow
yields (Wiley, et.al., 1998). The YCUA
discharge also has had a marked
improvement in DO levels. Within the
past couple of years, local
representatives have also sighted trout in
this section of the river. Thus, continued attention to rehabilitation of this branch will

37
Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

continue to produce significant improvements to both habitat and aquatic community


diversity.

The Lower Rouge River through Canton has an extensive forested floodplain that should be
preserved. However, many invasive shrub species have become established, reducing
native ground flora in these forested areas. The tributaries upstream of Beck Road,
including both Fowler Creek and Sines Drain also exhibit some impacts due to recent
development, but opportunities exist to enhance these corridors since streambank erosion is
not a significant issue.

Fellows Creek upstream of Canton Center


Road exhibits opportunities to enhance
the riparian corridors for habitat and
aquatic community diversity; however, it
also exhibits severe streambank erosion
downstream of Canton Center Road. The
Flodin Park’s Fellows Creek wetland was
constructed to reestablish a natural stream
system. The wetland area effectively
manages flow variability and has Flodin Park Regional Wetland
significantly increased both habitat and
aquatic community diversity.

4.8 LOWER 2 ROUGE STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

Impairments

The Lower 2 SWMA of the Rouge River should support a fairly diverse aquatic community.
The habitat in the Lower 2 branch, like much of the Rouge River, suffers from excessive flow
variation, which is manifested in unstable banks, lack of streamside cover, riffles and pools.
The natural geology of the Lower 2 SWMA restricts high rates of groundwater contribution
to streams; therefore negative effects from a lack of storm water management and removal
of riparian vegetation are magnified. The dam at Wayne Road in the City of Wayne
fragments aquatic habitats and renders this reach of river unavailable for some fish species.

Historically, excessive flow variation and lack of appropriate spawning habitat have been
the main factors negatively impacting the Lower 2 fish community. Like the Lower 1
SWMA, base flow enhancement has dramatically increased the fishery potential of the
Lower 2 SWMA. Continued attention to rehabilitation of this branch will continue to
enhance both habitat and aquatic community diversity. The increase in impervious surfaces
upstream has also caused an increase in the frequency with which the extreme flashiness
occurs in the river. The remaining uncontrolled CSOs must be separated and controlled as
they result in considerable deterioration of water quality.

Notable Areas

The Lower 2 SWMA is heavily developed; however, it still retains a moderately intact
riparian corridor in the communities of Wayne, Inkster and Dearborn. This riparian

38
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

corridor is seasonally flooded providing important connections with the river. This
dynamic is readily observed in the vicinity of the Inkster Valley Constructed Wetlands
Project. This area is also important as it demonstrates the use of natural and created
wetlands to treat non-point source pollution from storm water runoff.

Similar to the Lower 1 SWMA, the


addition of increased base flow from Kurt Kuban holding a female chinook salmon
the YCUA outfall has transformed the
Lower Rouge within the Lower 2
SWMA. With the YCUA flow
enhancements, the Lower Rouge has
changed from being a very low base
flow system to a midsized river with
moderate base flow yields (Wiley, et.al.
1998). Given this enhanced base flow
combined with other restoration
projects, opportunities could exist for
fishing.

Recently, a local watershed resident found a female Chinook salmon near downtown
Wayne. This is evidence that water quality is improving and that habitat improvements,
including dam modification, will continue to work towards delisting the Rouge AOC.

39
5.0 Component C: Delisting Criteria for Habitat and Populations

Goals in the Rouge River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) include a focus of developing and
expanding recreational opportunities (RRAC, 2004). Although significant progress has been
made towards increasing these opportunities, fishing is the recreational focus for the
public’s connection to the river. Setting targets for removal of the impairments to habitat
and population will work specifically toward these goals outlined in the RAP.

Oftentimes, fish are considered to be the best indicator of overall water quality as their
sustained presence indicates a complex habitat system with acceptable flow, temperature,
water quality, and channel habitat. More than 60 fish species are historically native to the
Rouge River AOC. Today, at least 53 of these species are found in the Rouge River
(Leonardi, 1996). Though many native species are still present, some species’ numbers have
severely declined. For example, the redside dace (a state threatened species) was once
found in Johnson Creek and now is rarely found. Fish species identified in the Rouge River
are typical of those species found in aquatic systems under stress. The four miles of concrete
channel in Main Branch has posed a significant barrier to available fish habitat in the lower
portion of the river. Fish passage around the Henry Ford Estate dam and other key dams
throughout the Rouge River would connect and make available miles of the river to source
populations of many game fish species that are otherwise isolated within the watershed.
Although dams work to fragment the system, their impoundments also contain the most
concentrated game fish populations in the watershed. Newburgh Lake in particular,
provides recreational opportunities including access to a thriving largemouth bass, northern
pike, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and black crappie fishery (Leonardi, 1996).

The MDNR’s Fisheries Division Institute for Fisheries Research and the University of
Michigan’s School of Natural Resource developed a correlation, known as the Wiley-
Seelbach model (Wiley et. al, 1998). This model predicts what fish communities, or target
communities, could exist in segments of the Rouge River, based on the stream size, position
in the watershed and seasonal variation in water flows and temperature. The report
analysis was based on measurements and modeling of the structure of the fish communities
in ecologically similar rivers throughout southern Michigan. The report emphasizes
hydrologic regime (e.g. base flow and peak flow) and temperature regime (e.g. summer
minimum, maximum and median temperature) as the factors controlling fish community
composition, and assumes that factors like in-stream habitat quality, and prey availability
are already suitable for the identified fish species (Wiley et.al., 1998). In addition, the fish
populations in the lower portions of the Rouge River are also affected by water quality. The
goal of the Wiley-Seelbach model was to aid in the development of management criteria
based on an accurate assessment of what potential fish population assemblages are expected
to occur in a specific reach of the Rouge River. The 1995 MDNR fish assessment data set
was used to compare potential fish species to what was actually found during the survey
(Leonardi, 1996).

The river segments within the entire Rouge River Watershed were defined into segments
consistent with the Wiley-Seelbach model: Small-Sized Streams with Very Low Baseflow,
Small Streams with Low Baseflow, Small Streams with Moderate Baseflow, Mid-Sized
Streams with Low Baseflow, and Mid-Sized River with Moderate Baseflow. These segment

40
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

groups do not always correspond to the storm water management area designations, but
reflect river characteristics that will support fish communities. Based on these segment
groups, recommendations for target fish associations, including game or angling fish, are
provided based on model predictions (Wiley et.al, 1998).

5.1 SMALL-SIZED STREAMS WITH VERY LOW BASEFLOWS

The Lower Rouge River segment upstream of Palmer Road in Canton was originally
categorized as a small-size stream with very low base flow. Two to five fish species are
expected in this type of river segment, including the central mudminnow and brook
stickleback. Game species are not typical for these types of streams. However, YCUA
enhancements have modified the baseflow downstream of Beck Road and steelhead have
been observed in this area.

5.2 SMALL STREAMS WITH LOW BASEFLOW

This segment category includes the Main Branch and Evans Ditch located in the Main 1-2
SWMA, the Upper Rouge and Bell Branch located in the Upper SWMA, and portions of the
Middle Branch in both the Middle 1 and Middle 3 SWMAs. Target communities include a
range of 18 – 32 species with up to four game species. Indicator species included the creek
chub, northern pike and green sunfish while potential angling opportunities include
bullheads, sunfish and northern pike. The MDNR fish assessment observed 15 species with
one game fish, slightly below expectations (Leonardi, 1996).

5.3 SMALL STREAMS WITH MODERATE BASEFLOWS

This category includes the headwaters of the Main and Upper Branches along with Johnson
Creek, located in the Middle 1 SWMA. Expected fish communities ranges from 5-17 species,
including the mottled sculpin and creek chub, but with very limited game fish
opportunities. Areas assessed by the MDNR found nine species with one angling
opportunity (Leonardi, 1996).

5.4 MID-SIZED STREAMS WITH LOW BASEFLOWS

This type of segment is characteristic of the Middle Rouge at Hines/Merriman downstream


to the confluence with the Main Branch in the Main 3-4 SWMA, the Main Branch at Bonnie
Brook in Southfield downstream and the Main Branch itself in the Main 3-4 SWMA. The
target fish communities include a range of 29-46 species including rock bass, northern pike,
golden redhorse and channel catfish. Up to 10 species are expected to provide significant
angling opportunities including bullheads, sunfishes, suckers, rock bass, northern pike,
smallmouth bass, walleye, carp and channel catfish. The MDNR fish assessment found only
seven of these species, including carp (Leonardi, 1996).

5.5 MID-SIZED RIVER WITH MODERATE BASEFLOW

This segment type applies to the Lower Branch, with the YCUA flow enhancement,
upstream of its confluence with the Main Branch. There is a potential for up to 29 species, 7

41
Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

of which provide angling opportunities including smallmouth bass, walleye, and northern
pike. The MDNR assessment found a range of 3 – 12 fish species (Leonardi, 1996).

When viewing the Rouge River Watershed from a fish community perspective, the most
common species groups include creek chub, common shiner, green sunfish, and white
sucker. These are representative of small warm water streams with moderate to low base
flow. A low base flow is of particular interest as it is on the low end of the spectrum of what
is needed by the majority of game fish species that occur in the Rouge River. With the
exception of a few areas in the headwaters, the fish communities generally lack population
integrity (Leonardi, 1996). Sites in question were dominated by low-flow tolerant species
such as creek chub and green sunfish, while sites in the headwaters with higher quality
stream integrity tended to support low-flow intolerant species such as mottled sculpin and
brown trout. Furthermore, no new species were identified in 1995 beyond those found in
1986. Two species typical of good base flow and water quality that were found in 1986 were
absent in the 1995 survey (Leonardi, 1996).

5.6 DELISTING TARGETS

The targets are primarily focused on improving fish populations in the Rouge River,
including the Main, Upper, Middle and Lower branches due to the fact that the impairment
was originally identified as fish, not wildlife populations. As previously mentioned, the fish
populations are dependent on both the food source and appropriate habitat. As fish
populations are monitored into the future and as the identified delisting targets are reached,
it is understood that the habitat must be adequate to support the fish respective
communities. It’s important to recognize that the identified potential monitoring sites were
selected based on the existence of historical fish community assessment data. Past
assessments were made using both the Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) (Karr, 1981) and the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Surface Water Quality Division, Great
Lakes Environmental Assessment Section, Procedure 51 (GLEAS 51) methodologies. The IBI
and GLEAS 51 methodologies measure the biotic integrity of a fish population. This is
defined as a “balanced, integrated, adaptive community of organisms having a species composition,
diversity, and functional organization comparable to that of natural habitat of the region” (Karr &
Dudley, 1981). The following delisting targets have been identified for the respective BUIs:

Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations

1. Beneficial Use Impairment for Degradation of Benthos is removed.

2. Using the Wiley-Seelbach model and the MDNR 1995 Fisheries Assessment as the
baseline (Wiley et. al, 1998), it may be expected that a minimum number of game fish
species may be achieved, to include the minimum game fish, in the following segments
of the Rouge River (Figure 5-1 identifies Potential Fish Monitoring Locations):

• Rouge River Main Branch from the mouth upstream to Beech Road (US5). Example
game species may include northern pike, smallmouth bass, channel catfish and
walleye. Potential monitoring locations include the following:

42
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Site ID Geographic Location


US5 Beech Rd. (USGS) in Southfield
MN-10** Below Ford Dam – Launch at Melvindale
MN-4* Spinoza Rd at Rouge Park in Detroit
*Sites surveyed in 1986 using IBI & 1995 MDNR
** Site surveyed in 1995 MDNR

• Lower Rouge River from the confluence with the Main Branch upstream to Sheldon
Road (L-1). Example game species may include northern pike, rock bass and
smallmouth bass. Potential monitoring locations include the following:

Site ID Geographic Location


LO6 Wayne Rd in Wayne
L-4* Ford Field Park in Dearborn
L-1* Sheldon Road in Canton
*Sites surveyed in 1986 using IBI & 1995 MDNR

• Middle Rouge River from the confluence with the Main Branch upstream to Hines
Drive (D06). Example game species may include northern pike, rock bass and
smallmouth Bass. Potential monitoring locations include the following:

Site ID Geographic Location


US2 (MD-7*) Inkster Rd in Dearborn Heights (USGS Station)
DO6 Hines Dr. Near Ford Rd. in Dearborn Heights
*Sites surveyed in 1986 using IBI & 1995 MDNR

• Upper Rouge River from the confluence with the Main Rouge River upstream to
Powers Road (U-1). Example game species may include northern pike, rock bass.
Potential fish monitoring locations include the following:

Site ID Geographic Location


U-3* 5 Mile Rd in Redford
Twp
U-1* Powers St in Farmington
*Sites surveyed in 1986 using IBI & 1995 MDNR

3. Two monitoring events with results meeting the criteria above and which occur within
a five-year period, but no sooner than one-year apart, shall demonstrate progress for
delisting.

Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat

1. Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations Beneficial Use Impairment is removed.

43
Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Figure 5-1 highlights potential fish monitoring locations for delisting the Loss of Fish and
Wildlife Populations BUIs. These locations were selected due to the fact that they each have
historical population data associated them.

Figure 5-1: Potential Fish Monitoring Locations

44
6.0 Component D: Recent and Ongoing Planning and Restoration Efforts

As stated in the Rouge River Remedial Action Plan Update (RRAC, 2004):

“Caring for nature means, first, protecting the natural landforms such as streams,
valleys, moraines, ravines and plains that are the basis of living communities. Second,
it means protecting healthy, diverse habitats, the plants and animals that live there and
the network of corridors that link habitats. Third, caring for nature means re-
establishing, regenerating, and sometimes creating lost or degraded landforms,
habitats and linkages.”

In the last 20 years, significant restoration progress has been realized as a result of over one
billion dollars of investment by the federal, state and county governments, Rouge River
Watershed communities, and area residents (www.allianceofrougecommunities.com).
Below is a description of recent and ongoing projects and activities in the Rouge River
Watershed. These efforts have been arranged by SWMA and in chronological order, where
possible, with the most recent project listed first.

6.1 MAIN 1-2 STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

The several impoundments of the Main 1-2 SWMA have their fishery restored. In 2007, the
City of Southfield, in partnership with the MDNR, recently released more than 14,000 native
game fish species into Carpenter Lake, an impoundment of the Ravines Branch. The fish
planting was one component of the lake restoration project that began in 2004. The goal of
the project was to restore the lake to a sustainable fish and wildlife habitat, with improved
water quality and storm water management. The fish released included largemouth bass,
channel catfish, bluegill, sunfish and minnows. Nuisance and exotic fish species were
removed because of their tendency to overpopulate and negatively impact game fish
populations. A fish stocking plan was developed to limit the re-establishment of nuisance
and exotic fish and to continue to provide a unique recreational fishery in an urban setting.
ADA access and fishing piers were installed to provide additional public recreation
opportunities.

Carpenter Lake – Southfield, MI

45
Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Quarton Lake is an impoundment on the Quarton tributary of the Rouge River in the City of
Birmingham. The lake was dredged, fish habitat, including woody structure and spawning
habitat, were installed, and nuisance and exotic fish species were removed.

Kingswood Lake located at the Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills


underwent significant habitat restoration through dredging of excess sediment and
restoration of riparian buffers and adjacent wetlands. Increased high quality habitat
opportunities have had a demonstrated improvement on fish and wildlife populations.

The cities of Troy, Farmington Hills, Southfield and


Birmingham have implemented storm water best
management practices (BMPs) at parks, golf courses
and other publicly-owned lands within the SWMA.
These BMPs were designed to reduce the flow
variability observed in the river while also
enhancing the riparian corridor. Streambank
stabilization projects have also been completed in
strategic areas across the SWMA to reduce the impacts
of erosion on river habitats.

The cities of Beverly Hills, Birmingham and Southfield, Oakland County Planning and
Economic Development, Oakland Land Conservancy, now the Six Rivers Regional Land
Conservancy, Friends of the Rouge, the Oakland County Drain Commissioner, and
Southeast Oakland County Water Authority and the Oakland County Audubon Societies
have worked together to highlight the Rouge Green Corridor. This corridor has over nine
public parks and preserves, extensive woodlands and prairie meadows for over 100 species
of birds, 19 species of butterflies, eight species of frogs and at least 17 species of mammals.
Citizen involvement through planting buffers and removing invasive species has provided
significant habitat enhancement value. The City of Southfield also purchased substantial
property along the Rouge Green Corridor which will ultimately provide enhanced habitat
and population diversity across this area (OCPEDS, 2008).

6.2 MAIN 3-4 STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

In 1999, the City of Detroit installed two native plantings along the Rouge River. Two acres
of native plants were planted at Eliza Howell Park near the confluence of the Upper and
Main branches, and 15 acres of prairie and native plants were planted at Rouge Park, the
city’s largest park.

In 2002, Ford Motor Company conducted “green” activities at the Ford Motor Rouge Plant
including, installing a green roof on the manufacturing plant, using porous pavement at
new car storage areas and creating mass plantings of native plants. Ford also partnered with
Wayne County Roads to reconstruct Miller Road to include storm water detention.

46
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Rouge Gateway Project – Ford Motor Company

The City of Dearborn has installed rain gardens and a wetland detention area adjacent to the
concrete channel to effectively manage storm water runoff from its Department of Public
Works Yard. As this provides a storm water benefit, the rain gardens and the wetland area
along the river channel will provide numerous habitat enhancements.

In 2001, the western-most oxbow in the Rouge River was restored at


the Henry Ford Estate. The restoration provides habitat for
fish and wildlife, while providing educational
opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people who
visit The Henry Ford each year. Funding for the oxbow
restoration was provided by Clean Michigan Initiative
(CMI) and the Rouge Program Office (RPO). The City of
Melvindale created a no-mow zone behind its ice arena
along the channelized portion of the Rouge River.

6.3 UPPER STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

Of the four locations sampled, Minnow Pond Drain, near Farmington Road, and Seeley
Drain, at Halsted Road, contained sensitive fish species such as redside dace and mottled
sculpin, and the most diverse aquatic habitat. Adult rainbow trout have been stocked near
Powers Road to support short-term fishing derbies. The City of Livonia constructed an off-
line regional storm water management facility at Idyl Wyld Golf Course to manage excess
storm water runoff from a 2,700-acre area. The facility significantly reduces the flow
variability in the river thus providing a long-term enhancement in habitat and fish/benthic
populations.

6.4 MIDDLE 1 STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

The Johnson Creek Protection Group in partnership with the local communities has
continued to encourage volunteer opportunities to enhance areas along this stream while
also minimizing pollution impacts. Some of these activities have included enhancement of
riparian corridors and removal of invasive species.

47
Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

The City of Novi has installed flow, water quality and habitat enhancements for at least
three regional basins all on tributaries to the Middle Rouge River. Northville Township, the
City of Northville and Wayne County implemented both streambank and pond
enhancements at Fish Hatchery Park to both improve water quality and provide habitat
value. The Johnson Creek Protection Group has worked to maintain the high quality of
Johnson Creek through numerous small riparian projects and educational opportunities.

6.5 MIDDLE 3 STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

Since the early 1900s, Newburgh Lake has served as a recreational resource for the
surrounding area. Over the years excessive nutrients and various pollutants had entered the
lake degrading its recreational use. Nutrients had contributed to excessive aquatic plant
growth while other pollutants, some toxic, had accumulated in the sediment. From the
sediment, toxic pollutants such as PCBs entered into the food chain making most fish unfit
for human consumption. In 1993 the RPO began planning a Newburgh Lake Restoration
Project with the goals of eliminating the
PCB fish advisory, improving the lakes
water quality and enhancing the
recreational use of the lake.
Construction began in 1997 and by 1998
nearly 560,000 tons of sediment, much of
it contaminated with PCBs, had been
removed from the lake along with the
eradication and removal of over 28,000
pounds of PCB-contaminated fish. Shoal
areas were created and planted with
beneficial aquatic vegetation, the lake
was deepened and over seven acres of Newburgh Lake Restoration
fish spawning beds and habitat
structures were constructed. The lake
was then restocked with over 30,000 fish
of various species including bluegills,
largemouth bass, catfish and walleyes.
In the summer of 2003, the State of
Michigan lifted consumption bans for
the general population (men and boys
over the age of 15 and women who are
beyond child bearing years) for carp,
channel catfish, largemouth bass and
northern pike caught in Newburgh
Lake. Newburgh Lake now provides a
thriving recreational fishery, however,
fish consumption advisories, although
no longer as strict, remain as a source of
impairment.

48
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

In addition, Wayne County has instituted a successful Grow Zone Strategy within Hines
Park along the Middle Rouge River to increase storm water infiltration and reduce flooding
impacts while also enhancing habitat opportunities. These grow zones combined with
numerous completed streambank stabilization and woody debris management practices
have provided a benefit to the river from both a habitat and population standpoint.

6.6 LOWER 1 STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

The YCUA flow enhancements in the Lower Rouge River have created a new hydrologic
system with the potential to support significant fish communities. Canton Township also
recently constructed a regional storm water wetland adjacent to the south side of Fellows
Creek and the Green Drain in Flodin Park. Streambank and in-stream habitat enhancements
were installed along the stream corridor. This feature has provided a significant value in
reducing flow variability in Fellows Creek while also enhancing habitat opportunities. In
addition, numerous residential detention basins have been retrofitted and enhanced for
improved flow control and water quality as well as increased habitat opportunities. The
vegetation and native buffers planted in and around both regional basins and privately-
owned basins adjacent to stream corridors has tremendously increased habitat value and
presence of a variety of wildlife.

Numerous detention basin enhancements have been constructed adjacent to the Lower
Rouge tributaries that have included installation of native wetland vegetation and
construction of riparian buffers. These enhancements improve storm water runoff quality
entering the local streams thus improving habitat opportunities for aquatic communities. In
addition, the native vegetation in the detention basins also enhances habitat opportunities.
One detention facility was reconstructed to support fish communities in the basin adjacent
to Fowler Creek.

Detention Basin Habitat Enhancement

49
Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

6.7 LOWER 2 STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AREA

As with the Lower 1 reach of river, the


addition of increased base flow from Wayne County Rain Garden at Commerce Court
the YCUA outfall has transformed the
Lower 2 SWMA. The new hydrologic
configuration has the potential for up
to 29 species with angling
opportunities for seven species
including smallmouth bass, walleye,
and northern pike. Continued
attention to rehabilitation of this
branch will be well worth the effort.

Numerous streambank stabilization


projects as well as projects to eliminate
combined sewer overflows (CSOs)
have been completed in this SWMA.
Woody debris management
techniques and installation of native
plants have provided positive habitat
enhancements throughout the
corridor. Downspout disconnection
programs along with the CSO projects
have had a significant improvement in
water quality as well as reduced flow
variability in the river.

50
7.0 Component E: Sites for Habitat and Population BUI Delisting

The stakeholders of the Rouge River Watershed have collectively invested millions of
dollars and thousands of hours in time in achieving restoration of the river. The success of
these efforts has been documented through improved water quality, enhanced fish and
wildlife populations and increased recreational use. The Rouge River National Wet
Weather Demonstration Project began the restoration of the Rouge River by focusing on
CSOs and subsequently storm water runoff, illicit connections and enhancing public
education about water resources.

While these are significant achievements, efforts remain ongoing to work towards
restoration, but to also work towards quantifying when delisting of specific BUIs may occur.
It’s important to note that delisting of the BUIs described in this report does not require
complete restoration of the river, but rather marks a milestone in achieving progress for
improved habitat and population conditions.

The Technical Committee identified a series of projects and initiatives that, once
implemented and monitored according to site plans, should result in delisting the
Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations and Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat BUIs. These
projects are listed as follows, while Figure 7-1 presents a general location map of the
proposed projects. Detailed descriptions of each project and initiative are described further
in this chapter. Please note that some project initiatives are not reflected specifically on the
map for which a footnote is then denoted.

The following projects, when implemented, will work towards delisting the AOC for habitat
and population BUIs:

1) Fish Passage and Dam Modification – Feasibility Study and Implementation


2) Green Infrastructure (GI) – Assessment and Visioning
3) Green Infrastructure – Implementation
4) Green Infrastructure – Land Cover Monitoring
5) Natural Areas Program Management Feasibility Study
6) Green Corridors
7) Concrete Channel Modifications/Enhancements for Habitat and Fish
Populations
8) Michigan Avenue and Evergreen Road Storm Water Treatment and Habitat
Restoration
9) Tournament Players Golf Course Storm Water Treatment and Wetland
Restoration
10) Oakwood Common Oxbow Restoration
11) Fordson Island Habitat Restoration
12) Lakes and Impoundments – Feasibility Study & Restoration
13) Evans Creek Constructed Wetland
14) Booth Park Streambank Stabilization

51
Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Figure 7-1: Project Sites to Work towards Habitat and Population BUI Delisting

52
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

1) FISH PASSAGE AND DAM MODIFICATION – FEASIBILITY STUDY AND


IMPLEMENTATION

Description: The MDNR 1998


Fisheries Assessment identified two Henry Ford Estate Dam
dams that are impediments to the
Rouge AOC’s fishery. These are at
Wayne Road in Wayne on the Lower
Rouge and at the Henry Ford Estate in
Dearborn on the mainstem of the Rouge
River. Removing or providing fish
passage at these sites would be
extremely helpful in achieving the
delisting targets for the Rouge River by
reconnecting the Rouge River AOC to
the Detroit River and Lake Erie
ecosystem.

The Henry Ford Estate dam is


approximately 8 miles upstream of the
Rouge River’s confluence with the
Detroit River and the first upstream
dam from the mouth of the Rouge
River,. The next upstream dams along
the Middle and Upper Branches of the
Rouge are 18 and 36 miles from the
confluence, respectively. The dam at
Wayne Road on the Lower Branch is
about eight miles upstream of the
Wayne Dam
Henry Ford Estate dam but since the
Lower Branch splits off from the Main
Rouge downstream of the Henry Ford
Estate, fish can travel from the Detroit River to the Wayne Road dam unimpeded and
salmon spawn there in the fall. A fish passageway at the Henry Ford Estate and
removal/modification of the dam at Wayne Road would increase aquatic diversity
throughout the upper and lower portions of the Main Branch and the Lower Branch, not
only for fish species, but also for macro-invertebrates, mussels and other aquatic life forms.
Fish species that have been identified at the Henry Ford Estate dam include small mouth
bass, white suckers, walleye, redhorse suckers, northern pike and steelhead.

The Army Corp of Engineers has been studying the feasibility of providing fish passage
around the Henry Ford Estate dam. The chosen alternative would be most effective in
allowing passage of small fish species as well as warm and cold water fish species (USACE,
2003).

This project would provide funding to perform the feasibility study for the
removal/modification of the dam at Wayne Road on the Lower Branch and provide
53
Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

financial support for its removal as well as provide financial support for the fish passage
around the Henry Ford Estate dam.

Timetable: While these projects have been actively discussed amongst stakeholders, the
timing for implementation is anticipated to be within the next five years.

Funding Estimate: $3,000,000

Potential Stakeholders: Wayne County Department of Environment, Friends of the Rouge,


Alliance of Rouge Communities, Army Corps of Engineers, University of Michigan-
Dearborn, Henry Ford Estate, City of Wayne, City of Dearborn.

Indicators and Monitoring: Fish population monitoring upstream of the two dams as
outlined in the delisting targets.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Building upon and relying on the watershed
monitoring efforts of Friends of the Rouge, Wayne County and the ARC would collaborate
with the MDNR to add fish monitoring to the suite of parameters being monitored for
watershed management progress evaluation.

Public Involvement: The RRAC and ARC committee structure will be used to publicize the
project. The process for the project design and permitting will be used as a mechanism for
public involvement. Reports and project profiles will be developed, press releases will be
issued and State of the Watershed workshops and conferences will be implemented
throughout the duration of the project to bring attention to and build awareness of the
importance of reconnecting the Rouge AOC (ecologically) to the Detroit River and Lake Erie
AOC’s and to provide information on the progress of ecological restoration.

Figure 7-2: Location of Henry Ford Estate and Wayne Road Dams

54
Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

2) GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE (GI) - ASSESSMENT & VISIONING

Description: Using the 2008 Leaf Off aerial imagery dataset obtained by USGS and process
by the Alliance of Rouge Communities for use with CITYgreen© software a comprehensive
assessment and analysis of the Rouge AOC will be performed to quantify the following:

• Area (acres) of public parkland available for conversion to Grow Zone or Reforestation,
• Area of public school properties available for conversion to Grow Zone or tree planting,
• Area of public impervious parking available for porous pavement retrofitting
• Area of public facility roof top available for conversion to green roof

With these areas quantified, a stakeholder involvement visioning and cost benefit analyses
will be conducted for each type of public property to identify the costs and benefits in both
economic and environmental terms of implementing these green infrastructure capital
improvement projects.

Timetable: 2010 – 2011

Funding Estimate: $100,000

Potential Stakeholders: If funding can be secured. Wayne County Department of


Environment/Alliance of Rouge Communities, school districts and other public institutions.

Indicators and Monitoring: Land cover percentages of tree canopy, open space/scattered
trees, meadow/grow zone, impervious, urban bare and water will be determined via
remote sensing and GIS technologies.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Removing the BUIs for Fish and Wildlife
Populations and the Fish and Wildlife Habitats is about achieving a better balance between
the “green” infrastructure and the “gray” impervious infrastructure. The percent
composition of the land cover types will be monitored over time to evaluate progress
towards achieving this better balance by realizing the Rouge WMP goals of increasing the
tree canopy, open space/scattered trees, meadow/grow zone land cover types by
decreasing the percentages of the impervious and urban bare land cover types.

Public Involvement: The RRAC and ARC committee structure will be used to plan and
implement the project. Reports, press releases and State of the Watershed conferences will
be developed, issued and implemented throughout the duration of the project to bring
attention to and build awareness of: 1) the importance of green infrastructure to delisting
the AOC; 2) what the GI goals are for the watershed; and 3) project assessment results.

55
Delisting Targets for Fish & Wildlife Habitat & Population Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

3) GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE - IMPLEMENTATION

Description: The 2008 Rouge River Watershed Management Plan Update has outlined a
long-term (30 years) storm water runoff volume reduction target for the entire AOC of
approximately 300 million cubic feet, with a short-term target of 10% of the total estimate.
Storm water runoff volume control can be achieved through numerous types of green
infrastructure or low-impact development technologies. Examples of these types of projects
include grow zones, rain gardens, bioswales, infiltration basins, storm water basin retrofits,
green roofs and pervious pavement. While not typically described as a best management
practice, increasing tree canopy coverage provides storm water runoff volume reduction.
Other mechanisms with which to reduce volume include capture and reuse of storm water
runoff. Initial priority areas for implementation of these strategies include the following:

• Public parkland available for conversion to grow zone or reforestation;

• School properties available for implementation of schoolyard habitats with conversion of


turf/impervious areas to grow zone or trees as one type;

• Public impervious parking available for porous pavement retrofitting; and

• Public facility roof top available for conversion to green roof.

Timetable: 2009-2030

Funding Estimate: $50,000,000

Potential Stakeholders: Wayne County Department of Environment/Alliance of Rouge


Watershed Communities, schools, school districts and other public institutions.

Indicators and Monitoring: Land cover percentages of tree canopy, open space/scattered
trees, meadow/grow zone, impervious, bare urban land and water will be compared before
and after implementation of the selected management strategies. At the same time, volume
control estimates will be documented and tracked through the CITYgreen© mechanism.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Removing the BUIs for fish and wildlife
populations and the fish and wildlife habitats is about achieving a better balance between
the “green” infrastructure and the “gray” impervious infrastructure. The volume reduction
achievements will be monitored over time to evaluate progress towards meeting the long-
term targets.

Public Involvement: Public involvement activities will be project-specific; however, the


RRAC and ARC community structure will be utilized to continue promoting green
infrastructure implementation.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

4) GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE - LAND COVER MONITORING

Description: The Rouge AOC has experienced a tremendous loss of natural areas/habitat.
These habitat areas with their requisite vegetation establish the watershed’s green
infrastructure. Using remote sensing and GIS technology and software the land cover
within the Rouge AOC will be monitored over the long-term to evaluate progress towards
achieving Green Infrastructure land cover targets identified within the 2008 Rouge River
Watershed Management Plan (WMP). Through this project leaf-on digital aerial imagery
will be obtained classifying the Rouge AOC land cover into tree canopy, open
space/scattered trees, meadow/grow zone, impervious, urban bare and water for use in
CITYgreen© software analyses. This new dataset will be compared to the 2002 and 1991
land cover datasets released by American Forests under contract to the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) as part of the Southeast Michigan Urban Ecosystem
Analysis: Calculating the Value of Nature (American Forest, 2006) to establish a new baseline of
existing conditions and to assess the land cover (habitat) changes that have occurred within
the various Rouge AOC storm water management areas. The dataset would allow the AOC
stakeholders to assess development and/or restoration projects in terms of the green
infrastructure benefits at both the micro (small scale projects) to macro (regional scale
initiatives) scales.

Timetable: It is anticipated that this project would occur over approximately two years
(2010).

Funding Estimate: $200,000

Potential Stakeholders: Wayne County Department of Environment/Alliance of Rouge


Communities (ARC), MDNR and American Forest, Inc. might also be project partners

Indicators and Monitoring: Land cover percentages of tree canopy, open space/scattered
trees, meadow/grow zone, impervious, urban bare and water will be determined via
remote sensing and GIS technologies.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Removing the BUIs for Fish and Wildlife
Populations and the Fish and Wildlife Habitats is about achieving a better balance between
the “green” infrastructure and the “gray” impervious infrastructure. The percent
composition of the land cover types will be monitored over time to evaluate progress
towards achieving this better balance by realizing the Rouge WMP goals of increasing the
tree canopy, open space/scattered trees, meadow/grow zone land cover types by
decreasing the percentages of the impervious and urban bare land cover types.

Public Involvement: The RRAC and ARC committee structure will be used to plan and
implement the project. Reports, press releases and State of the Watershed conferences will
be developed, issued and implemented throughout the duration of the project to bring
attention to and build awareness of: 1) the importance of green infrastructure to delisting
the AOC; 2) what the GI goals are for the watershed, and 3) project assessment results.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

5) NATURAL AREAS PROGRAM MANAGEMENT FEASIBILITY STUDY

Description: Wayne County is the single largest riparian corridor landowner in the Rouge
River AOC (approximately 4,200 acres of riparian corridor) and has spent hundreds of
millions of dollars in federal grant funding over the last 20 years to help restore the river.
Many of the most recent projects have been green infrastructure grow zone projects that re-
establish a more natural/native landscape within the parklands managed by the county.
This project would provide funding to perform an institutional assessment and implement
organizational changes to establish a Natural Areas Program Management unit within local
and county governments. This will ensure the ongoing success of the implemented projects
and continued improvement of riparian corridor management activities and techniques by
the county and other agencies that will ultimately allow for improving and sustaining fish
and wildlife populations in the Rouge River AOC.

Timetable: 2011 – 2012

Funding Estimate: $75,000

Potential Stakeholders: Wayne County Department of Environment, Wayne County Public


Services, Wayne County Park, Alliance of Rouge communities, local communities.

Indicators and Monitoring: Site integrity plant and wildlife surveys, infiltration,
macroinvertebrate and geomorphic monitoring as well as land cover monitoring.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Building upon and relying on the watershed
monitoring efforts of Friends of the Rouge, Wayne County and the Alliance of Rouge
Communities (ARC), projects will be evaluated based on land area converted to upland
grow zones, schools and students involved, as well as physical, chemical and biological
improvements realized onsite and throughout the Rouge AOC.

Public Involvement: The RRAC and ARC committee structure will be used to plan,
implement and publicize the project. Reports and project profiles will be developed, press
releases will be issued and State of the Watershed workshops and conferences will be
implemented throughout the duration of the project to bring attention to and build
awareness of the importance of managing the riparian corridor as natural areas and to
provide information on the progress of ecological restoration.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

6) GREEN CORRIDORS

Description: Extension of the Main 1-2 Rouge Green Corridor project initiative across the AOC to
include the Lower, Middle and Upper branches of the Rouge River would result in an overall
planning and restoration approach between neighboring stakeholders that would seek to develop
consistent priorities for restoration implementation.
The Main 1-2 Rouge Green Corridor (RGC) project was completed in 2006 as part of a larger
partner-based initiative that includes the Cities of Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Southfield, the
Southeast Oakland County Water Authority, Oakland County Planning & Economic
Development Services, Oakland County Drain Commissioner, Friends of the Rouge, and the
Oakland Land Conservancy, now the Six Rivers Land Conservancy. The project aimed to assist
the RGC communities in undertaking a community-based planning and communications
“branding” approach to create and promote a unique identity for a specific and distinct riparian
greenway corridor along the Rouge River in the Main 1-2 SWMA. This approach was developed
to engage citizens, riparian businesses and riparian homeowners in identifying with and taking
ownership of their local riparian corridor assets. The project provided local communities with
tools to identify and facilitate the promotion, protection and enhancement of the Rouge Green
Corridor as a unique community asset in the Rouge River Watershed. The project was limited to
the Main 1-2 SWMA and has proven to be successful in educating the public.
Deliverables included RGC Identity Posters, self-guided tour maps and RGC signage in the target
area. In addition, prioritizing restoration efforts and focus areas along the corridor would also be
important for the local stakeholders. As focus areas in other areas of the Rouge River Watershed
are further identified and prioritized through this mechanism, coordinated funding sources may
be secured.

Timetable: It is anticipated that this types of overall project will take place within the next
five years.

Funding Estimate: $250,000

Potential Stakeholders: The PAC will work to find a sponsor for this project. Potential
stakeholders include the Wayne County Department of Environment, Alliance of Rouge
Communities, local stakeholder groups and local neighboring communities along each
branch of the river.

Indicators and Monitoring: As this project focuses on developing overall coordinated


initiatives across the AOC, indicators of its success will be reflected in the participation by
AOC stakeholders and their respective involvement in helping to identify and prioritize
focus areas.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: The coordinated green corridor approach will be
evaluated based on priorities set in the project and the overall stakeholder involvement.

Public Involvement: Project stakeholders will both publicize the project in their newsletters,
in the press and through Internet-based media. In addition, the community public
education efforts, through RRAC and the ARC, may be utilized, as feasible, for project
public promotion.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

7) CONCRETE CHANNEL MODIFICATIONS/ENHANCEMENTS


FOR HABITAT AND FISH POPULATIONS

ROUGE RIVER CHANNEL RESTORATION, UPPER AND LOWER SECTIONS

Description: Approximately 2.3 miles of concrete-lined channel exists, between Michigan


Avenue and I-94, in the eight-mile long Gateway Partnership area of the Rouge River. This
represents approximately one-half of the USACE’s flood control project completed in the
mid-1970’s. The flood control project reduced the channel length from 5.8 miles to 4.2 miles
through realignment and straightening. Restoration of this portion of the river would
include restoration of riparian shoreline and submerged habitat through the removal of
hardened shoreline and inclusion of habitat features such as submerged rock overhangs,
willow overhangs and re-creation of clusters of emergent aquatics (i.e. cover habitat) on
select riparian littoral shelf locations.

Timetable: It is anticipated that this project will occur within the next ten (10) years.

Funding Estimate: 15,000,000

Potential Stakeholders: RRAC, Wayne County Department of Environment, Alliance of


Rouge Communities, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Rouge Gateway Partnership,,
including the cities of Dearborn, Melvindale and Allen Park.

Indicators and Monitoring: Indicators would include the various habitat types constructed
as part of this project, including the riparian and submerged areas. Monitoring of these
indicators is anticipated to include annual vegetation monitoring for a period of time
determined through the design process as well as types of wildlife observed during
monitoring periods.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Removing the BUIs for Fish and Wildlife
Populations and the Fish and Wildlife Habitats is about achieving a better balance between
the “green” infrastructure and the “gray” impervious infrastructure as mentioned in
previous project descriptions. The evaluation process will be in the establishment of a
diverse native vegetation and wildlife population from this project.

Public Involvement: The RRAC committee structure would be utilized to promote public
involvement activities. At the same time, the project design process would include
significant permitting that would entail a public involvement/comment period. Promotion
could also be considered through the ARC committee structure with press releases and
other communication documents.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

8) MICHIGAN AVENUE AND EVERGREEN ROAD STORM WATER TREATMENT AND


HABITAT RESTORATION (USACE, 2003)

Description: Storm water runoff from Michigan Avenue, Evergreen Road and a significant
developed area to the north is discharged directly to the Rouge River, contributing to
erosion on the south side of the river and increasing non-point source pollution loading,
including oil and grease, silts and nutrients to the river. Two alternatives are under
consideration.

The first alternative consists of restoring the floodplain forest and shoreline habitat that was
once present. The actual planting composition would be determined by the extent of
excavation and grading in the upstream and downstream restoration areas. Storm water
runoff from Michigan Avenue and Evergreen would be routed to create marsh areas
suitable to support the constructed wetland hydrology. Key features would include the
following:

• Plant floodplain and upland forest where gaps exist;


• Restoration of habitat functions provided by high marsh, low and deep marsh, floodplain
shrub/scrub and upland forest;
• Management of exotic and/or nuisance plant species through the project area;
• Implementation of a habitat management and maintenance program; and
• Improvement of the storm water treatment of roadway runoff.

The second alternative incorporates substantial improvements to fish and wildlife resources
and substantial water quality improvements. A series of filtration marshes that would
collect and treat water from the tributary area would be fully integrated with the successful
creation of freshwater marsh and wet prairie and restoration of floodplain forest and
shoreline habitat. Two constructed wetlands are proposed on the north and south sides of
the Rouge River.

Inlet and outlet control structures will be constructed to manage the volume of storm water
routed through the constructed wetlands. A sediment forebay area will be incorporated
with an inlet control structure to trap coarse sediment before entering the wetland. Each
constructed wetland will be designed using a two-tiered, meandering flow path to provide a
diversity of depths to promote diversity of wetland plants and extend the retention time for
treatment of pollutants. Inclusion of a micropool area near the outlet control structures will
provide a low and deep marsh habitat and ensure cooler temperatures for the water
discharged to the Rouge River. Key project components include:

• Excavation of the project area to facilitate construction of a storm water treatment


system, maximizing storm water treatment efficiency and allowing for the
creation of submerged and emergent herbaceous and/or shrubby wetlands;
• Planting of existing and historic floodplain and uplands forests;
• Control of nuisance species within the project area;
• Design and use of a long-term habitat management and maintenance program;
and

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

• Education/demonstration of storm water treatment alternatives within the Rouge


River Basin.
Timetable: While this project has had some preliminary reviews, it is anticipated that
design and construction timeframes would be on the order of 5 – 10 years, depending on
funding availability.

Funding Estimate: $2,500,000

Potential Stakeholders: RRAC, Wayne County Department of Environment, Alliance of


Rouge Communities, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rouge Gateway Partnership, other
local communities and groups.

Indicators and Monitoring: Project-specific monitoring would include those components


outlined in the habitat management and maintenance program. It is anticipated that a level
of annual vegetation monitoring would be included. In addition, a level of storm water
volume and water quality control will be achieved through management of the runoff from
Michigan Avenue, Evergreen Road and adjacent developments. Monitoring river quality
following completion of the project will demonstrate effective management of this excess
storm water runoff. At the same time, storm water volume control may be monitored
through updates through the CITYgreen© mechanism described previously.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Indicators described above including storm water
volume, water quality and vegetation/habitat will determine the restoration success. Long-
term evaluation is consistent with the delisting targets previously described.

Public Involvement: The RRAC committee structure would be utilized to promote public
involvement activities. At the same time, the project design process would include
significant permitting that would entail a public involvement/comment period. Promotion
could also be considered through the ARC committee structure with press releases and
other communication documents.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

9) TOURNAMENT PLAYERS GOLF COURSE STORM WATER TREATMENT AND WETLAND


RESTORATION (USACE, 2003)

Description: A significant wetland area is located adjacent to the Detroit Water and Sewer
Department’s Hubbell-Southfield underground storm water basin and the Tournament
Player’s Club (TPC) Golf Course in the City of Dearborn. The site is located south of
Michigan Avenue, east of Evergreen Road and adjacent to the Rouge River Flood Control
Project. The wetland is in a deteriorating condition due to high normal pool elevations and
lack of fluctuations in the hydro-period. The objectives of a proposed storm water treatment
and habitat restoration project at this site include the successful creation and restoration of
upland/wetland herbaceous and forested habitat. In addition, this alternative includes
restoration of fishery habitat that will be fully integrated with storm water treatment
functions and passive recreation opportunities. Specific project features include:
• Interception and pre-treatment of storm water runoff through a system of spreader
swales combined with wet meadow overland flow prior to the discharge to a series of
freshwater emergent marsh retention systems;
• Creation of a series of interconnected emergent marsh system that will retain storm
water for an appropriate duration to provide for substantial removal of nutrients and
dissolved solids;
• Creation and restoration of floodplain forest, emergent marsh and wet meadow
through a systematic planting and seeding program and hydro-period modification;
and
• Management of exotic and/or nuisance vegetation and animal species.

Timetable: While this project has had some preliminary reviews, it is anticipated that
design and construction timeframes would be on the order of 5 – 10 years, depending on
funding availability.
Funding Estimate: $5,500,000
Potential Stakeholders: RRAC, Wayne County Department of Environment, Alliance of
Rouge Communities, US Army Corps of Engineers, Rouge Gateway Partnership, Hertigate
Golf Group and other local groups.
Indicators and Monitoring: Indicators would include restoration of native vegetation
species along with storm water runoff volume and river water quality. Monitoring river
quality following completion of the project will demonstrate effective management of this
excess storm water runoff. At the same time, storm water volume control may be monitored
through updates through the CITYgreen© mechanism described previously.
Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Indicators described above including storm water
volume, water quality and vegetation/habitat will determine the restoration success. Long-
term evaluation is consistent with the delisting targets previously described.
Public Involvement: The RRAC committee structure would be utilized to promote public
involvement activities. At the same time, the project design process would include
significant permitting that would entail a public involvement/comment period. Promotion
could also be considered through the ARC committee structure with press releases and
other communication documents.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

10) OAKWOOD COMMON OXBOW RESTORATION (USACE, 2003)

Description: The Flood Control Project straightened the natural river alignment in this area
and effectively created an oxbow wetland behind the Oakwood Common senior residence
development community and adjacent to the Tournament Player’s Club (TPC) Golf Course.
This wetland is hydrologically isolated from the river and has partially filled with sediment.
Three (3) alternatives have been considered with the most challenging being a complete
reconnection of the oxbow to the Rouge River Channel. While detailed feasibility studies,
funding availability and public involvement may ultimately select one of the three
alternatives, each of which provides habitat restoration, this project description focuses on
the complete reconnection alternative. Hydraulic reconnection of this area with the Rouge
River would require dredging to provide adequate flow-through characteristics. Native
upland and wetland planting would be installed along the existing shoreline and the
reconnected oxbow. The plantings would effectively enhance recreation, provide erosion
control, improve storm water management and enhance ecological habitat functions.
Numerous fish will benefit from the hydraulic reconnection, including largemouth bass,
bowfin and numerous sunfishes.

Timetable: While this project has had some preliminary concepts, it is anticipated that
design and construction timeframes would be approximately 5 – 10 years, depending on
funding availability.

Funding Estimate: $20,000,000

Potential Stakeholders: RRAC, , Wayne County Department of Environment, Alliance of


Rouge Communities, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rouge Gateway Partnership, other
local communities and groups.

Indicators and Monitoring: Indicators would include restoration of native vegetation


species along with storm water runoff volume and river water quality. Monitoring river
quality following completion of the project will demonstrate effective management of this
excess storm water runoff. At the same time, storm water volume control may be monitored
through updates through the CITYgreen© mechanism described previously.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Indicators described above including storm water
volume, water quality and vegetation/habitat will determine the restoration success. Long-
term evaluation is consistent with the delisting targets previously described.

Public Involvement: The RRAC committee structure would be utilized to promote public
involvement activities. At the same time, the project design process would include
significant permitting that would entail a public involvement/comment period. Promotion
could also be considered through the ARC committee structure with press releases and
other communication documents.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

11) FORDSON ISLAND HABITAT RESTORATION (USACE, 2003)

Description: Fordson Island is located in the City of Dearborn, just downstream of the
Turning Basin on the southwest side of the river. Ongoing negotiations between the
property owner and Wayne County have created an opportunity for possible riparian and
upland habitat creation/restoration, public recreation and access to the Rouge River. The
project objectives include successful restoration of the onshore and offshore habitat of a
small island in the Rouge River and providing improved public access and passive
recreation opportunities for the local community.

The U.S. Department of Justice and EPA have a consent decree with Marathon Ashland
Petroleum LLC, which involves a supplemental project on Fordson Island with an estimated
cost of $3.5 million. The anticipated work involves restoration, removal of equipment and
environmental assessments. Marathon Ashland Petroleum currently owns a majority of the
island and is in the process of transferring this land to Wayne County.

Specific project features important to the success of this project include:

• Removal of solid waste, construction materials and abandoned boats along the
shoreline of the island;
• Shoreline restoration with a herbaceous, emergent riparian shelf that is
interspersed with pockets of willow overhangs to benefit the adjacent fishery and
existing wading bird roost site;
• Creation of upland and wet meadows that are dominated by native grass and
shrub species and maximization of passive recreation interaction with pollinator
and avian species;
• Restoration and enhancement of forested and scrubby wetland that currently
occurs on the island and provides habitat to wading bird species;
• Creation of reef habitat in deep water on the Rouge River side of the island to
improve fishery opportunities in the immediate project area;
• Development of an interpretive trail to describe the importance of urban habitat
restoration of fish and wildlife species; and
• Management of exotic and/or nuisance vegetation and animal species throughout
the project area.
Further investigations to determine federal interest in this project would look at the
deepening of the channel west of Fordson Island to determine whether commercial or
recreational vessels will use and benefit from the deepening. An evaluation of “incremental
depths” to dredge the channel would be needed to determine the greatest achievable
benefits versus cost in addition to determining the locations for greatest habitat benefits.

Timetable: While this project has had some preliminary reviews, it is anticipated that
design and construction timeframes would be approximately 5 – 10 years, depending on
funding availability.

Funding Estimate: $3,500,000

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

Potential Stakeholders: RRAC, Wayne County Department of Environment, Marathon


Ashland Petroleum LLC, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alliance of Rouge Communities
and other local communities or groups.

Indicators and Monitoring: Indicators would include restoration of native vegetation


species along with storm water runoff volume and river water quality. Monitoring river
quality following completion of the project will demonstrate effective management of this
excess storm water runoff. At the same time, storm water volume control may be monitored
through updates through the CITYgreen© mechanism described previously.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Indicators described above including storm water
volume, water quality and vegetation/habitat will determine the restoration success. Long-
term evaluation is consistent with the delisting targets previously described.

Public Involvement: The RRAC committee structure would be utilized to promote public
involvement activities. At the same time, the project design process would include
significant permitting that would entail a public involvement/comment period. Promotion
could also be considered through the ARC committee structure with press releases and
other communication documents.

Figure 7-3: Fordson Island Restoration

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

12) LAKES AND IMPOUNDMENTS – FEASIBILITY STUDY & RESTORATION

Description: A number of lake restoration projects, including Newburgh and Carpenter


lakes, have been completed within the watershed with demonstrated improvements in both
fish and wildlife habitat and populations. Other lakes and impoundments across the
watershed have significant habitat and recreational potential provided a level of restoration
will take place. The extent of restoration for these impoundments would be determined
during an initial feasibility study followed by implementation of restoration techniques.
Lakes or impoundments for consideration would include, at the least, Walled, Nankin
Phoenix and Wilcox lakes.

First, an overall evaluation of lakes in the AOC would be completed to prioritize restoration
opportunities based on criteria such as environmental, economic and public involvement
factors. Environmental factors for feasibility evaluation would include topics such as level
of water quality improvements, extent of benefits provided in working towards the delisting
targets, storm water runoff quality and quantity management and the public education
value achieved by providing improvements in the local water resources.

Restoration practices for each lake would be determined during this initial feasibility study.
Techniques for consideration would include all or some combination of the following:
dam/impoundment structural modifications, sediment removal, removal of exotic fish and
vegetation species, fish and wildlife habitat enhancements, aesthetic and recreational
opportunities, shoreline restoration/stabilization, riparian buffer modifications/conversion
to green infrastructure and installation of additional storm water management strategies to
control runoff from adjacent areas.

Timetable: As the remaining lakes and impoundments are prioritized, it is anticipated that
lake restoration projects would occur over the next decade as funding permits.

Funding Estimate: $30,000,000

Potential Stakeholders: RRAC, Wayne and Oakland counties; Alliance of Rouge


Communities; Friends of the Rouge and other local groups and stakeholders.

Indicators and Monitoring: Project-specific monitoring would include documenting fish


populations both before and after restoration, documenting changes in water quality and
enhancements in native riparian habitat.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators:

Public Involvement: The RRAC committee structure would be utilized to promote public
involvement activities. At the same time, the project design process would include
significant permitting that would entail a public involvement/comment period. Promotion
could also be considered through the ARC committee structure with press releases and
other communication documents.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

13) EVANS CREEK CONSTRUCTED WETLAND

Description: Evans Creek (also known as Evans Ditch or Evans Branch) is a natural
headwater stream tributary to the Rouge River, located in the Rouge River’s Main 1-2
Subwatershed. A portion of Evans Creek is located within the campus of Lawrence
Technological University. The goal of this implementation project is to create a much
needed wetland treatment system in this subwatershed and improve the water quality of
Evans Creek by intercepting and treating storm water from the Rummell Drain. The project
includes construction of approximately two acres of offline treatment wetlands on the LTU
campus, immediately adjacent to the creek and just below the Rummell Drain outlet. This
project will provide management of both storm water flow and volume. Due to the large
upstream watershed, this project will target flow capture for events of approximately 20% of
the first flush (0.5 inches) design event size. The wetland treatment cells will also allow for
re-introduction of organisms into the creek by providing aquatic habitat. Alone, this
proposed facility can become an example of the kind of Best Management Practice that can
remediate (as opposed to “restore”) urban streams. As the first of a series of similar
facilities, this project could have a significant impact on the channel. In addition, there is
another seasonal tributary of Evans Creek on LTU Campus that is a seasonally wet grass
swale. This manicured grass channel drains a small portion of the Northwestern Service
Drive with most of the service drive draining into a curb and gutter system and being piped
into a regional detention facility. This area could be excavated to create stormwater
treatment wetlands with drainage from Northwestern being re-routed into the wetland for
inline storage and treatment.

Timetable: Design and construction of this project is anticipated to take two years.

Funding Estimate: $750,000 - $1,200,000

Potential Stakeholders: The PAC will work to find a sponsor for this project. Potential
stakeholders include Lawrence Technological University and the City of Southfield.

Indicators and Monitoring: Project evaluation will include performance metrics for changes
in stream flows and water surface elevations, water quality improvements and wetland
vegetative cover. Depth and flows will be continuously measured with the two staff
gages/pressure transducers in Evans Creek (the only two on the creek), and one in the
South Wetland Cell. Macroinvertebrate surveys and a wetland plant coverage assessment
will be conducted approximately nine months after the project has been constructed. Water
quality samples will be deployed at the stream and wetland outlet stations both during pre-
construction and post construction. During this time, individual timed grab samples from
each of the monitoring stations will be analyzed for dissolved oxygen (DO), conductivity, E.
coli, temperature, total suspended solids (TSS), nutrient, and pH.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Performance metrics will include pre- and post-
construction improvements in peak flows and water surface elevations and upstream,
downstream and wetland outlet pollutants. Success will be defined as finding 1) a
statistically significant difference in the pre- and post-construction averages; 2) finding
macroinvertebrates and 3) delineating 90% coverage of the planted wetland species. Other

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

indicators to evaluate project success will include number of students working on the
wetland, and the number of public tours every year.

Public Involvement: Project stakeholders will both publicize the project in their newsletters,
in the press and through Internet-based media.

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

14) BOOTH PARK STREAMBANK STABILIZATION

Description: Booth Park, a four-acre park located along the Rouge River, is a highly visible and
highly utilized city park in the downtown business district of Birmingham. As the river flows
downstream of North Old Woodward and through Booth Park, the floodplain width is drastically
reduced by approximately 65%. As a result, the reach of river within Booth Park has produced
significant stream bank erosion. This project would address one of the severe stream bank
erosion sites and install a floodplain enhancement area within Booth Park. The severe stream
bank erosion site located approximately 250 feet downstream of the North Old Woodward Bridge
on the east side of the stream and the west side of North Old Woodward. The site is
approximately 80 feet in length and has an 18-foot high stream bank with mostly bare soil and
some trees and shrubs with exposed roots. Immediately across from the severe erosion site is the
location of the proposed floodplain enhancement area. This area will provide additional
floodplain width and storage by creating a secondary stream bank and re-grading the existing
stream bank on the northwest side of the river. The site will be re-established with a combination
of native vegetation and ledge rock walls. By expanding and enhancing the floodway bench,
additional benefits will provide for the creation of vernal pools and enhancement of the riparian
vegetation, a better connection to the park path system, and increased public awareness of the
Rouge River.

Timetable: It is anticipated that this project will occur within the next five (5) years,
depending on funding sources.

Funding Estimate: $300,000

Project Stakeholders: City of Birmingham, RRAC, Alliance of Rouge Communities, other


local communities and stakeholder groups.

Indicators and Monitoring: Monitoring indicators should include water quality, habitat
types, both in-stream and riparian areas, and macroinvertebrate populations.

Evaluation Process based on Indicators: Evaluation should reflect the changes


documented in both water quality conditions and habitat conditions and macroinvertebrate
populations.

Public Involvement: Project stakeholders will both publicize the project in their
newsletters, in the press and through Internet-based media.

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8.0 Reporting on Implementation of Habitat and Population
Restoration Projects

The RRAC will take an active role in reporting any activities related to significant fish and
wildlife restoration efforts. All progress on associated targets will be reported to MDEQ via
the PAC support staff or PAC chair. Progress reports will be made on a semi-annual basis
(every 6 months) in written format and discussed with the Rouge River AOC coordinator
from MDEQ.

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9.0 References

American Forest. Southeast Michigan Urban Ecosystem Analysis: Calculating the Value of
Nature. May, 2006.

Catalfio, Chris. Colleen Hughes, Jennifer Sackrison, Nancy Gregor. Rouge River National
Wet Weather Demonstration Project, 2006 Rouge River Ecosystem Monitoring and
Assessment Report. Wayne County: Michigan 2006.

Crawford, Gary and Douglas Denison. Johnson Creek Reconnaissance Survey for the Rouge
River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project (RPO-WMGT-TMP44.00). Wayne
County, Michigan. April 1997.

Karr, J.R., 1981. Assessment of Biotic Integrity Using Fish Communities. Fisheries
(Bethesda) 6(6):21-27.

Karr, J.R., and Dr. R. Dudley, 1981. Ecological Perspective on Water Quality Goals.
Environmental Management, 5:55-68.

Leonardi, J.M., 1996. An Assessment of the Rouge River Fish Community, 1995. Michigan
Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division. June 1996.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Guidance for Delisting Michigan’s Great


Lakes Areas of Concern. Lansing: Michigan, 2006.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – Water Bureau. Total Maximum


Daily Load for Dissolved Oxygen for Johnson Creek Wayne and Washtenaw Counties.
August, 2007.

Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services (OCPEDS). Rouge Green
Corridor Identify Demonstration Project,
http://www.oakgov.com/peds/program_service/es_prgm/rip_green/rgc_main.html.
Last accessed September 2008.

Policy Committee, United States. Restoring United States Areas of Concern: Delisting
Principles and Guidelines. December 2001.

Rouge Remedial Action Plan Advisory Council (RRAC), 2004 Rouge River Remedial Action
Plan Revision. 2004.

Szlaga, Paul and Karen Ridgway. Hydraulic Analysis of the USGS Stream Gages within the
Rouge River Watershed. July 2008.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Rouge River Area of Concern (EPA-RRACO). 1


January 2008 < http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc/rougriv.html

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Delisting Targets for Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments for the Rouge River Area of Concern

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Detroit District, Rouge River Watershed, Michigan
Reconnaissance Study Section 950(b)(WRDA 86) Analysis Flood Hazard Reduction, Riverine
Ecosystem Restoration, and Recreational Development, 2003.

Wiley, Michael, Paul Seelbach, and Stephen Bowler. Ecological Targets for Rehabilitation of
the Rouge River. School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan:
Ann Arbor. 1998.

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